High-Tech Heart

Sometime in the next 10 weeks, surgeons will remove the heart from a dying cardiac patient and replace it with the device seen at right--the first fully implantable, entirely self-contained mechanical heart. The $75,000 pump is a technological tour de force. Fashioned of titanium and plastic, it is powered by a wallet-size battery pack that transmits energy to a coil under the skin. Patients should be able to walk, shower, even return to work--as long as they recharge every four hours. AbioMed hopes to install more if the experimental design works reliably and delivers good quality of life. But the company...

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