Christian Latrémouille, MD, PhDa,b, Alain Carpentier, MD, PhDa,b, Pascal Leprince, MD, PhDc, Jean-Christian Roussel, MD, PhDd, Bernard Cholley, MD, PhDa,e, Elodie Boissier, MDf, Eric Epailly, MDg, Antoine Capel, MSch, Piet Jansen, MDh, David M. Smadja, MD, PhDa,i,j
The electro-hydraulically actuated Carmat total artificial heart (C-TAH) is designed to replace the heart in patients with end-stage heart failure, either as bridge to transplant or destination therapy. It provides pulsatile flow and contains bio-prosthetic blood contacting materials. A clinical feasibility study was conducted to evaluate the C-TAH safety and performance.
Hospitalized patients, at imminent risk of death from irreversible biventricular failure despite optimal medical management, and not eligible for transplant or eligible but on extracorporeal life support, were enrolled. The primary endpoint was 30-days survival.
Four patients were implanted with the C-TAH, three as destination therapy (ages 76, 68, 74) and one as bridge to transplant (age 58). They had implant times of 74, 270, 254 and 20 days respectively. All patients were free from hemolysis, clinical neurologic events, clinical evidence of thrombus and device-related infections. Hemodynamic and physical recovery allowed two patients to be discharged home for a cumulative duration of 7 months. The anticoagulation management strategy comprised initial unfractionated heparin, from postoperative day 2, followed by low molecular weight heparin and aspirin. An increased D-dimer level was observed in all patients during months 1 to 4. Temporary suspension of heparin anticoagulation resulted in thrombocytopenia and increased fibrin monomer, reversed by resuming anticoagulation with heparin. Causes of death were device-related (2 cases), respiratory failure and multi-organ failure.
Preliminary clinical results with the C-TAH demonstrated good safety and performance profiles in patients suffering from biventricular failure, which need to be confirmed in a pivotal study.