The first patient to be fitted with a newly-designed 3D-printed heart has died.
A 76-year-old Parisian was the first recipient of the artificial heart, but passed away 75 days after a procedure to fit the device. Made by French firm Carmat, the artificial heart is designed to replace the real heart for up to five years, in order to give the patient time to receive a transplant.
Powered by an external lithium-ion battery pack and weighing nearly 1kg, the Carmat heart is made from a 3D-printed case, synthetic materials and cow heart tissues designed to stop blood clots from forming.
The device is considered "self-regulating" as it uses multiple sensors to detect rates of activity -- and speeds up or slows down flow rate based on this data.
However, it is not known if the 76-year-old man's death was due to the 3D-printed device's malfunction or generally ill health. The patient, suffering from the later stages of heart failure, was said to only have weeks or months to live when the device was fitted.
In a clinical trial, several more terminally-ill patients are scheduled to receive the 3D-printed organ, and if they survive at least one month, the operation is considered a success.
"The doctors directly involved in the post-surgical care wish to highlight the value of the lessons learned from this first clinical trial, with regard to the selection of the patient, his surveillance, the prevention and treatment of difficulties encountered," the hospital said in its statement.
It is estimated that three people die each day waiting for an organ transplant due to a chronic shortage of available, suitable organs.
Read on: BBC
Image credit: Carmat