The First Person to Receive a Carmat Artificial Heart is Dead After 75 Days

Three more patients are due to receive similar devices in clinical trials

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Franck Fife / AFP / Getty Images

An employee of the French CARMAT company inspects an artificial heart on September 24, 2009 in Velizy, Paris suburb.

The world’s first receiver of a Carmat artificial heart has died, 75 days after the implant.

In a statement on Monday, the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris said it couldn’t yet determine the cause of the 76-year-old man’s death.

A spokeswoman for Carmat, the company that produces the bioprosthetic device, said that “Carmat wishes to pay tribute to the courage and the pioneering role of this patient and his family, as well as the medical team’s dedication.”

Three other patients with terminal heart failure are about to have similar artificial hearts implanted. While the devices are designed to last for up to five years, the clinical trials will be considered a success if the patients survive for more than a month.

Carmat is not the only kind of artificial heart available. Syncardia produces artificial hearts that have been implanted in about 1,200 patients, with the longest living for just under four years before receiving a real heart from a matching donor.

Syncardia’s artificial hearts are designed to keep patients alive while waiting for a real heart transplant, while Carmat intends its hearts to be permanent implants for terminally ill patients who are unable to receive real organs because they are too old or because donors are too scarce.