Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide But two French medical technology companies are making great strides in caring for those with advanced or terminal heart failure.
Around 60 million people are affected by heart disease in the world, which led some cardiologists to call it a pandemic. The prognosis for severe cases is not bright, there is only a 50% chance of survival for five years, and it is a disease that almost always kills.
The best solutions currently available include heart transplants, which are very limited due to the supply of donor organs.
The other is the installation of a heart pump, which often leads to complications such as stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding. Those with traditional heart pumps, known as left ventricular assist devices, can also have heart failure when they exercise even moderately.
But advances in medical technology may alter the grim prognosis.
Save and improve lives
An artificial heart from the Carmat company will go on sale in the second quarter of this year in Germany and France under the brand name “Aeson”. The device is designed to mimic a real heart and is battery powered.
Meanwhile, French start-up CorWave is developing a heart pump that replicates the blood flow and pressure characteristics of a human heart, rather than supplying a constant supply of blood at an unnatural level.
“Existing pumps save lives, but carry a high risk of complications,” CorWave CEO Louis de Lillers told Euronews.
“We want to save the lives of patients, but not only save them, we want them to have a fully active life.”
The CorWave pump works through its innovative technology called a wave membrane, which is inspired by the movement of marine animals. It is this movement of fluid that allows the pump to faithfully reproduce heart function and which the company hopes will be as effective as a heart transplant.
Since traditional pumps can cause serious complications, it means that many people are not eligible. But CorWave technology could reach more patients.
The technology has been in the works since 2012 and the company is nearing the end of the required 10 years of engineering.
Making history in Europe
In January, CorWave made history after the European Commission became a shareholder in the company, the first time for a private company since the Commission’s founding in 1957.
The European Innovation Council Equity Fund (EIC) invested € 15 million in CorWave. The € 3.6 billion European fund aims to boost promising start-ups and unicorn SMEs to compete with global competitors.
“It’s a historic investment and it’s really great news for Europeans because we don’t invest as much as China or the United States in disruptive and impactful innovations, which is a loss for Europeans and humanity,” de Lillers said.
Europe’s investment in CorWave, together with funds from other investors, will enable the company to finalize product development, expand manufacturing and infrastructure, complete regulatory testing for human implants and begin its human clinical trials.
Potentially life-saving technology could be on the market within the next four years.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism