Permanent artificial hearts one step closer

BRISBANE researchers will swap a sheep’s heart for a mechanical replacement later this year in a world-first operation that could reshape the future of organ transplantation.

Queensland University of Technology professor of biomedical engineering Mark Pearcy said researchers worldwide were aiming for a mechanical organ replacement that would supersede the current generation of ‘bridge to transplant’ technology.

Professor Pearcy said several teams, including one led by his former student Dr Daniel Timms (PhD) at Prince Charles Hospital, were closing in on the world’s first permanent artificial heart which could be implanted in an ambulatory patient.

“I can see a day when people could be walking around with a ventilator in a backpack or a total artificial heart implanted, but it could be five years away or it could be 20,” he said.

Dr Timms said his team, working with Japanese engineers who had helped with