PARIS - After its first recipient died, French biomedical firm Carmat said on Monday it expected to try again to implant its experimental artificial heart in another patient "in several weeks".
Artificial hearts have been in use for many years as a temporary fix for patients with chronic heart problems, but the Carmat product aims to provide a longer-term solution to enable hospitalised patients to return home and lead normal lives.
Philippe Pouletty, Carmat co-founder, told Europe 1 radio that a second experiment would depend on finding a suitable patient, adding that the company still had to wait for the results of an in-depth analysis of the first trial on a 76-year-old man.
The septuagenarian with terminal heart disease died on March 2, two-and-a-half months after being implanted with the artificial device.
"Currently we don't know what the patient's cause of death is, we are doing in-depth analyses before going on to the next implant," Pouletty said, appearing to refute a theory that a short circuit caused the device to stop working.
The company is hoping to trial the artificial heart in a total of four patients, and if all survive for at least one month, the experiment will be deemed a success.
The device, a self-contained unit implanted in a patient's chest, is a mix of synthetic materials and animal tissue, and seeks to mimic the form and function of an actual human heart.
In that sense, it varies greatly from other artificial hearts currently being used, which are cruder, mostly synthetic pumps.
Nearly 100,000 people in Europe and the United States are in need of a heart transplant, according to Carmat.