Heart failure patients may be able to live a little longer with the help of an artificial heart just approved by the FDA.
The abiocor implantable replacement heart is the first totally implanted heart device approved by the FDA. In order to have the artificial heart, the diseased heart is completely removed.
The two-pound mechanical heart takes over the pumping action, and is regulated by an internal controller. The coil that charges the battery for the heart is outside the body, but the battery is inside the abdomen. This allows the patient to actually disconnect for up to one hour a day which is especially helpful for bathing.
Right now the device is only approved for terminal heart failure patients who are not expected to live more than a month and are not eligible for a transplant.
In studies the device extended survival by an average four and a half months, however one patient lived seventeen months and was discharged from the hospital briefly.