Smithsonian celebrated Valentine’s Day in a very unique and remarkable way. They used it as an opportunity to honor the very first artificial heart.
An artificial heart is a mechanical device used to replace the heart for the purpose of bridging the time of heart transplantation that permanently replaces the heart due to heart problems. The first total artificial heart to be implanted is the Liotta-Cooley Artificial Heart.
It was named after Dr. Domingo Liotta, its inventor and Dr. Denton Cooley, the surgeon who implanted it nearly 42 years ago.
The artificial heart was implanted in a 47-year-old named Haskell Karp on April 4, 1969. It was a risk they were willing to perform to save the life of Mr. Karp who was already dying due to heart failure. At that time, they had to implant the artificial heart while waiting for the transplantation at Texas Heart Institute in Houston. The 3 hour operation of implanting the artificial heart kept Karp alive for three days. After 3 days, the artificial heart was removed and replaced by a donor heart.
This remarkable artificial heart helped to pave many inventions that could help save many lives. It is now in the custody of Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.