Heart disease is one of the leading global causes of mortality, accounting for 31% of all deaths. This represents 17.5 million people a year. Of all our organs, the heart is the one that pumps blood around our body.
Our vitality depends first and foremost on its proper functioning. It is the engine of our health. When its efficiency declines, or when we fall victim to an unfortunate disease, organs can now be replaced. However, compatibility and the risk of rejection are still major issues, and donors remain somewhat rare. Against this backdrop, some tech companies are betting that building a fully automated heart is possible.
For example, French company CARMAT is developing an electrically powered completely artificial heart. For the time being, the device is still in testing and its first phase of trials, still currently underway, is providing better than expected results. A second phase, involving more patients, should begin in 2016. Some other companies, rather than trying to build a device to fully replace the heart, are trying to help this amazing organ to function in a more efficient way.
US company Sunshine Heart is designing a complementary device to enhance dysfunctional heart abilities. We strongly believe that the need for such devices in the future will be significant: according to the nonprofit organization PRB (Population Reference Bureau), which aims to inform people about the global population, people aged over 65 will account in 2050 for more than 16% of the total population, compared with only 5% in 1950. It is obvious that technology keeps evolving at an exponential pace. We have created this theme because we think that research knowledge about the human body will enable us, in the medium term, to live better and longer.