On December 2, 1982 Seattle dentist Barney Clark became the first human recipient of a permanent artificial heart. He survived the heart, and the accompanying media circus, for 112 days.
Clark, 61, was the ideal candidate, suffering from debilitating congestive heart failure. Doctors determined that he was too sick to be eligible for a heart transplant, leaving the implant of an artificial heart his only option.
Clark’s predicament coincided with the FDA approving a new artificial heart for human implantation, a device known as the Jarvik 7. It was named for one of its key developers, Dr. Robert Jarvik, at the University of Utah. The Jarvik 7 was state-of-the-art for its time, and was the first one designed for permanent use. It employed a heart-shaped pump that was implanted into the patient. An external pneumatic compressor, connected to the pump by tubes running through the chest wall, regulated
He never left the hospital after his transplant, and ultimately died of “circulatory collapse and secondary multi-organ system failure” triggered by cytomegalovirus infection that was likely the result of a blood