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Artificial Heart: Total Replacement and Partial Support

Eugene Dong Jr, MD
Arch Surg. 1977;112(2):229. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370020123021.
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Safe and effective long-term mechanical support of the circulation remains elusive to the medical profession. I recall a visit by Dr Akutzu to my laboratory early in 1961 when we both were in the animal phase of heart replacement experimentation; he working with the artificial heart and I experimenting in the area of transplantation. Clinical application appeared to us to be equally distant. Fifteen years later, heart transplantation is a clinical reality, with a one-year survival rate of 65% and a long-term survival rate over seven years, whereas total mechanical replacement has only been attempted once in humans with controversial results. The reasons for this unequal development can easily be found in Dr Akutzu's book, which thoroughly reviews the problems and progress of these devices that undoubtedly some day will be in regular clinical usage. This prediction can be safely made with investigators as doggedly determined as Dr Akutzu and


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