The Jarvik-7 artificial heart was authorized by the federal Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a bridge to organ transplant.
It was developed at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University
of Utah, by Dr. Robert Jarvik and his colleagues. Like previous artificial
hearts, the Jarvik-7 was a two-chamber pneumatic (compressed-air) pump.
Tubes connected to the pump extended out of the body through the chest
and hooked up to a large electrical drive unit. The drive unit was made
of polyurethane and Dacron vascular grafts, with carbon-disk valves. Velcro
secured the right and left ventricles together and allowed for manipulation
inside the chest cavity.
In December 1982 Barney Clark was the first human patient implanted with
a Jarvik-7. Clark lived with the artificial heart for 112 days, eventually
succumbing to multiple organ failure. Due to postoperative complications,
the FDA stopped clinical trials of the Jarvik-7 in 1990.
The Jarvik-7 shown here was implanted in Michael Drummond in August 1985
by cardiac surgeon Jack Copeland, who referred to the mechanical heart
as the “Model-T of its era.” At the time, the critically ill
twenty-five-year-old was the youngest patient to receive an artificial
heart. Drummond lived with the Jarvik-7 for nine days until a donor heart
could be found. He died four-and-a-half years later of multiple organ
The CardioWest Temporary Total Artificial Heart is a smaller version
of the Jarvik-7. In 2004 the FDA approved the CardioWest as a temporary
replacement for patients awaiting transplantation.