AbioCor Total Artificial Heart

The AbioCor Total Artificial Heart is the first electro-hydraulic artificial heart implanted in a human. Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials, this AbioCor artificial heart was implanted in Robert Tools by cardiac surgeons Laman A. Gray Jr. and Robert D. Dowling on July 2, 2001, at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. The historic operation marked the first time an artificial heart was used as a permanent replacement for a human heart since the air-powered Jarvik-7 artificial heart more than fifteen years before.
The AbioCor is a two-chamber pump designed to perform like a natural human heart. It is powered by batteries, and pumps more than 2.5 gallons of blood a minute to the lungs and then to the rest of the body.
Tools, who suffered from irreversible congestive heart failure, chose to have his diseased heart removed and replaced with the plastic and titanium pump. He lived for five months, well beyond the clinical trials goal of sixty days.
The development of the AbioCor involved a team of engineers, scientists, and physicians from across the United States. Completely contained within the body, no tubes protrude through the skin, nor is the patient tethered to a noisy bedside console, as with air-powered hearts. Instead the heart is powered by rechargeable batteries and microcomputer technology that regulates the heartbeat according to the patient's activities.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart
artificial heart
date made
ca 2001
Tools, Robert L.
cardiac surgeon
Gray, Laman
Dowling, Robert
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
titanium (overall material)
overall: 11.8 cm x 9.2 cm x 15 cm; 4 21/32 in x 3 5/8 in x 5 29/32 in
overall: 4 1/8 in x 5 1/2 in x 4 7/8 in; 10.4775 cm x 13.97 cm x 12.3825 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Danvers
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Health & Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Artificial Organs
Artificial Hearts
Implantation of Total Artificial heart
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Related Publication
Renee C. Fox and Judith P. Swazey with the asistance of Judith C. Watkins. Spare Parts

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