New Hope for Failing Hearts

With transplants so scarce, thousands of patients could get the boost they need from a small, implanted pump

Each year more than 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with congestive heart failure--a condition in which a weakened heart can't pump as much blood as the body needs. Drugs like beta-blockers help stabilize many patients in the earliest stages of the disease. But there aren't a lot of options for folks in the later stages. Heart transplants are one solution, but they're in short supply. The new AbioCor artificial heart shows promise, but it's still experimental; last week doctors reported that Robert Tools, the first recipient, had suffered a stroke.

That's why it's such good news to hear that another type of...

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