A local medical technology company is testing two new devices that could change the game when it comes to artificial hearts.
SynCardia Systems, Inc. will be launching two clinical trials this year to test these devices.
The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is known as a bridge to transplant. It is meant to keep patients who are in the last stages of heart failure alive while they wait for a donor heart. The current artificial heart holds 70 ml of blood and has been transplanted into nearly 1,300 patients around the world.
Unfortunately, that heart may be too large for smaller people, such as elderly women or children.
"The key is that, when we take the patient's heart out, this has to fit in the space," said Rich Smith, the director of the University of Arizona Medical Center's Artificial Heart Program and a co-founder of SynCardia.
Later this year, the company will launch a clinical trial to test a smaller, 50 cc heart. And, according to Michael Garippa, CEO and resident of SynCardia, the smaller heart will triple the number of people eligible to receive one of the company's artificial hearts.
SynCardia is also set to study using the hearts on a long term basis. Currently, the hearts have FDA approval, but only for temporary use. However, according to Garippa, the technology can keep someone alive for long periods of time, something the company aims to prove in the upcoming study.