The Australian Government announced yesterday (20 February) that it is providing a grant of A$50m ($33m) to the Artificial Heart Frontiers Program (AHFP), an initiative involving five universities, three clinical groups, and BiVACOR, a medical device company.

This programme hopes to create an advanced ‘Total Artificial Heart’ by integrating several cutting-edge cardiac technologies, with the goal of halving the number of deaths from heart failure.

These technologies include the artificial heart itself, new left ventricular support devices, and other specialised heart pumps.

Heart failure is a worldwide problem, with more than 64 million cases being reported around the globe.

The disease is characterised by the weakening of the heart’s muscles and an inability of the heart to pump blood properly, leading to a reduced quality of life and diminished functional capacity.

This can be life-threatening, and in some cases requires a heart transplant.

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However, there are rarely, if ever, enough donor hearts to meet the demand of these cases.

An artificial heart such as the one in development by the AHFP, would reduce this load and provide another option for healthcare systems that are not reliant on donor organs.

The cardiovascular devices market has a value of approximately $56.9bn, which is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4%, according to GlobalData (a leading data and analytics company) forecasts.

Many of the devices in this category, including pacemakers and cardiac resynchronisation devices, are used to treat heart failure or symptoms of heart failure.

Growth in the market is being driven by factors that include research and development into new technologies such as those being developed by the AHFP.

According to GlobalData’s Clinical Trials Database, trials for the Total Artificial Heart are ongoing and are predicted to be completed in 2025.

The device is expected to reach the market in the same year.

Devices such as the Total Artificial Heart hope to reduce the burden on healthcare systems caused by heart failure and to lessen the reliance on donor hearts that these systems currently face.

Among patients, the Total Artificial Heart promises to improve quality of life, life expectancy, and productivity.

If successful, the Total Artificial Heart should prove to be an exciting new option in the treatment of heart failure.