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Back in the Day: the heart that was built to last longer

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Back in the Day: the heart that was built to last longer


December 2, 1982 Retired American dentist Barney Clark becomes the first person to be implanted with a permanent artificial heart. The Jarvis 7 device, developed by Dr. Robert Jarvic, kept Clark alive for 112 days. Before surgery, the patient had been made well aware that artificial heart implants were unlikely to achieve long-term success, but decided to go ahead in the name of scientific research. Such devices had been implanted before but only as temporary bridging measures between the removal of a sick heart and the implanting of a new, natural replacement. 112 days exceeded expectations and while a second patient to receive a permanent artificial heart survived 620 days, no device has yet proven effective in the long term although research continues.

Also on December 2: Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Emporer of the French (1804); formation of the United Arab Emirates (1971); Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister (1988); US energy company Enron files for bankruptcy (2001).

Born on December 2: Maria Callas (1923), Gianni Versace (1946), Lucy Liu (1968), Monica Seles (1973), Nelly Furtado (1978), Britney Spears (1981).

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