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Total Artificial Heart: Everything You Need to Know

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Total Artificial Heart: Everything You Need to Know

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Ratan Kumar Das | Published on 06/02/2023

Overview- Total artificial heart

A total artificial heart is a device used for replacing impaired heart ventricles and valves. It assists in restoring circulation and controlling the blood flow to and from the heart. It is placed in the chest and a machine called a driver is responsible for controlling the pump outside the body. A total artificial heart assists in improving the quality of life and helps the patient to live longer. It is a temporary solution designed for keeping an individual healthy receiving a heart transplant.

We will discuss everything in detail about the total artificial heart for your understanding. So, read till the end. The goal of this write-up is to only offer information to the readers and doesn’t interpret the cardiac suregon consultation.

What conditions does a total artificial heart treat?

A total artificial heart is recommended when someone has congenital heart disease present at birth or heart failure. These conditions impact the way the heart works and the damage eventually makes the heart incapable of pumping blood throughout the body efficiently. There are different symptoms caused by diseases like congenital heart disease and the procedure used to treat them. The symptoms are fatigue, low blood pressure, fluid build-up, shortness of breath, and difficulty laying down flat.

Who can benefit from a total artificial heart?

People who are recommended for a heart transplant receive a total artificial heart. It is not a permanent solution until the transplant is done. The doctor might refer to an artificial heart as a bridge to a transplant. Damaged ventricles are replaced with this procedure which helps the heart regain its strength. This helps the patient to stay healthy for a heart transplant till the time donor is available.

What happens before a total artificial heart procedure?

Before a total artificial heart procedure, the doctor will prepare the patient for at least a week. The healthcare team instructs the patient and his/her family about the artificial heart procedure. It helps in learning what to expect and how it will affect the patient’s health and lifestyle. During the time in the hospital, the doctor will make sure that the patient is healthy enough for a total artificial heart procedure. There might be a requirement for tests to evaluate the condition. The recommended tests are:

  • CT scan
  • Heart catheterization
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Pulmonary function testing
  • Cardiopulmonary stress testing

What happens during a total artificial heart procedure?

A total artificial heart procedure is intricate and the procedure usually takes more than nine hours. The operation is performed by cardiac surgeons and other specialists. Before initiating the surgery, general anesthesia is given. The team of doctors and nurses ensures monitoring of the patient’s breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs.

The patient is put on ventilators so that it is easier to breathe while he/she is under anesthesia. A heart-lung bypass machine is connected to ensure blood circulation throughout the body during the surgery. The machine is connected till the doctor replaces the artificial heart in the chest and it begins pumping.

What happens after a total artificial heart procedure?

After the surgery is done, the patient is transferred to the intensive care unit for close evaluation. There might be a requirement for a ventilator to help the patient breathe easily. The nutrition is given through the feeding tube or Intravenous line. Once the patient is recovered, then breathing, eating, and drinking becomes effortless. Gradually, it becomes easy to get up and move around. The healthcare team ensures monitoring the patient closely throughout their recovery to identify any infection signs or other complications.

What is the recovery time for a total artificial heart procedure?

It takes at least a month for full recovery in the hospital after total artificial heart surgery. For the first few days, the patient will stay in the ICU as the healthcare team assesses the condition. Once the discharge is done, the patient can gradually increase their daily activities. It is recommended to take medicines on time to avert the risk of infection and blood clots. One must make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions cautiously.


A total artificial heart is a solution for individuals who have been recommended for heart transplants and are waiting for the heart donor's availability. It becomes easy to lead a healthy life with an artificial heart for months and even years till the time a heart transplant is done. So, if you are someone looking for a heart donor for the transplantation, you can get this procedure treatment done. You will feel much better and healthier than you did earlier. An artificial heart will help in pumping the blood like your original heart throughout the body. Also, make sure to consult an expert cardiac surgeon so that they can provide you with treatment for your heart conditions.



What are the materials used for total artificial hearts?

The artificial heart is made of ceramic, plastic, metal, and animal parts. There is an alloy used also which is titanium-aluminum-vanadium for the pump. Other metal parts are biocompatible and have appropriate structural properties.

How many types of artificial hearts are available?

There are two types of artificial hearts which include mechanical hearts and the heart-lung machine.

Can you exercise with an artificial heart?

It is recommended to gradually increase the activity level to secure and care for an artificial heart. One should make sure to indulge in healthy eating and exercising.