First Self-regulating Artificial Heart Successfully Implanted

February 5, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. artificial /ˌɑrtəˈfɪʃəl/ (adj.) – unnatural or man-made
Example: The leg amputee can now walk properly because of his new artificial leg.

2. implant /ɪmˈplænt, -ˈplɑnt/ (v.) – to insert something inside the body through a surgery
Example: The dentist implanted three teeth to John’s gums.

3. pace /peɪs/ (n.) – the speed of someone or something’s movement
Example: Our digestion is at a slower pace when we sleep.

4. strenuous /ˈstrɛnyuəs/ (adj.) – in need of great effort and energy
Example: Mountain climbing is a strenuous outdoor activity.

5. conscious /ˈkɒnʃəs/ (adj.) – fully awake and aware
Example: The patient is now conscious after sleeping for four days.


Read the text below.
The first artificial heart that beats similarly with a human heart has been successfully implanted in a French patient’s body.

The Carmat bioprosthetic [BAHY-oh pros-THET-ik] artificial heart is the first of its kind, said the inventor Alain Carpentier [uh-LEYN kahr-puhn-TYAIR]. Artificial hearts were developed in the early 1980s as temporary replacement for patients with heart problems. Unlike Carpentier’s invention, these devices usually beat at a constant rate, which limits the person’s activities.

Carpentier referred to his invention as the only self-regulating artificial heart, as it can change its beating pace based on the body’s needs. For instance, if the person performs strenuous activity, the device would beat faster to sustain the action.

The artificial heart consists of multiple sensors and a microprocessor and is powered by an external lithium-ion [LITH-ee-uhm AHY-on] battery pack. The device is expected to function for at least five years, which is equivalent to 230 million heartbeats.

Although it looks like a real heart, the artificial heart is larger and heavier. The device is estimated to fit inside 86 percent of men but only 20 percent of women. It weighs around 900 grams or two pounds, three times heavier than the average human heart.

The 75-year-old male recipient showed good signs after his operation. He is fully conscious and can talk with his family while resting in a hospital in Paris.

While the successful operation can mean that the artificial heart can now be used for other patients, Carmat CEO Marcello Conviti [MAR-selo KON-viti] believes that it is too early to draw conclusions. Carmat expects to release the device in the European Union by early 2015, which would cost from $190,000 to $250,000.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of using an artificial heart? Why or why not?
·         Do you think experts should invent more devices like the Carmat artificial heart? Why?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the factors causing heart problems? Kindly explain.
·         How can one keep his or her heart healthy?


February 5, 2014