Did you know the first artificial heart was invented by an Italian?
Domingo Liotta – the son of Italian immigrants – first began his study on the treatment of irreversible heart failure in the late 1950s and began his work on an artificial heart in 1959. Dr. Liotta continued to make improvements on his invention and in 1969 he developed the Liotta Total Artificial Heart. This device was the first of its kind, and was implanted into a patient on April 4, 1969, by Dr. Denton Cooley at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas. The patient had severe heart failure and would have died without it. The surgery was a success – the artificial heart kept the patient alive until a donor heart was found.
Even though the artificial heart was made as a temporary fix, it paved the way for future permanent heart replacement devices. The artificial heart was donated to The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Click here to see if it is on display.