Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First plastic heart sold, not on the black market

You could say that Matthew Green is a lucky guy. He's the first person to ever receive a heart made entirely of plastic - no weak fleshy bits included - and walk out of the hospital with it. Most cold-hearted bastards aren't allowed to leave, at least until they get a fleshy, warm heart. But screw that, we're on the path to becoming cyborgs. What better way to start than the heart?

Green, a victim of "arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a heart muscle disease that causes arrhythmia and heart failure," is the lucky man with a (mostly) mechanical heart. It's plastic, which makes it more pliable, which is crucial because otherwise it wouldn't fit in the chest cavity. The heart itself has two valves and costs £100,000, plus £20,000 annually for maintenance and battery replacements. Not exactly steampunk or cheap, but Green's not complaining. 

Of course, this brings up a rather interesting question: how expensive is a regular, boring human heart? According to Google, anywhere from $90,000 to $300,000, depending on the country. Might want to wait for technology to deal with that financial burden.