clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

POLITICS DENYING HEARTS TO PATIENTS, KOLFF SAYS

The physician known as the father of artificial organs contends politics and government regulations are denying a useful life to thousands of ill people who need new hearts.

Only 2,000 human heart replacements are available in the United States each year for at least 35,000 patients who need them, Dr. Willem J. Kolff said Wednesday at a lecture on the history and future of the artificial heart.Kolff, a distinguished professor of medicine and surgery at the University of Utah, contends America "should have enough money to pay for artificial hearts for these people in need."

Other countries will manufacture the blood pumps, primarily used as a bridge to human heart transplants, if they are not built in the United States, he said.

"China is developing an entire bioengineering city of 200,000 for the sole purpose of producing the artificial heart," Kolff said, and Japan, Germany and Soviet bloc countries also are producing the device.