(ECNS) -- A 58-year-old Chinese patient successfully received the smallest-ever maglev artificial heart on Monday at Wuhan Union Hospital, which has carried out 12 artificial heart transplant surgeries so far.
The maglev artificial heart, or Corheart 6 left ventricular assist device (LVAD), is independently developed by China.
With a diameter of 34 millimeters and a thickness of 26 millimeters, it weighs 90 grams and looks like an egg in size. It is the smallest and lightest maglev artificial heart in the world.
China has about 10 million patients suffering from heart failure, among whom only 600 or so can get transplants every year due to a shortage of donors.
There are two mechanical methods to maintain the heart's function, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and an artificial heart, or a ventricular assist device (VAD).
A VAD is an electromechanical device for assisting cardiac circulation, which is used either to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart.
Some VADs will serve as long-term hearts to keep the patients suffering from advanced heart failure alive.
"An extra VAD serves as a short-term heart for the transition treatment of patients with acute heart failure, and gives them chances to accept transplantation surgeries as soon as possible," said Dong Nianguo, a professor at the department of cardiovascular surgery of Wuhan Union Hospital.