This article discusses recent developments in artificial heart devices. The latest artificial heart devices are intended for patients suffering from the most severe form of heart failure, in which the heart is no longer capable of pumping blood at all. Currently in clinical trials, the AbioCor Implantable Heart, from AbioMed of Danvers, is the first completely self-contained artificial heart available. When the first AbioCor was implanted in 2001 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, the procedure marked the first artificial heart transplant in close to two decades. Unlike the earlier Jarvik-7, the AbioCor heart is fully implantable. The patient is not tethered to controllers, external pumps, or monitors. The AbioCor is a hydraulically driven pump. A gear inside the pump spins at 10,000 revolutions per minute to create pressure. AbioMed expects to file for US Food and Drug Administration approval for a Humanitarian Device Exemption to allow sale of the AbioCor for use in a clearly defined subset of patients who qualify for heart replacement.

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