Dr. Willem J. Kolff Artificial Heart Prototype

Dr. Willem J. Kolff, a resourceful Dutch physician who invented the first artificial kidney in a rural hospital during World War II, using sausage casings and even orange juice cans, and went on to build the first artificial heart. His artificial heart — though it carried the name of a colleague, Dr. Robert Jarvik — is still in use, in subsequent designs, as a bridge to transplantation in patients with heart failure. He moved to the University of Utah in 1967 to lead the division of artificial organs, which is where his team of 175 physicians, surgeons, engineers, chemists and other specialists built a succession of mechanical hearts . This is one such prototype from the 1960’s that was developed in his lab.