Posts tagged #artificial heart

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.

Jarvik-7 Artificial Heart

Dr. Robert Jarvik invented the first artificial heart in 1982. I really like the story of Jarvik. It is the story of persistence and accomplishment--after having been rejected numerous times out of medical school he finally made it in University of Utah and developed this heart! This early model was hooked up to a large battery pack the size of a refrigerator and made a constant clicking sound. Barney Clark a 61 year old dentist was the first to get one of these and survived 112 days on it. It is a fascinating and pioneering piece of medical history. Piece came from a cardiologist personal collection and is a working model used to study the Jarvik-7 before implants and also to show candidates how it works. Has 'not for implant' securely built in the model chambers so as not to accidentally end up in someone. You can visit one in the Smithsonian or have one in your private collection.

Posted on January 7, 2015 .