Liotta-Cooley Artificial Heart

This is the first total artificial heart implanted in a human body. It was developed by Domingo Liotta and implanted by surgeon Denton Cooley (1920-2016) on April 4, 1969, at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. The recipient, Haskell Karp, lived for sixty-four hours with the artificial heart pumping oxygenated blood through his body until a human heart was available for transplant.
Although Karp died soon after receiving a real heart, and some criticized the surgery as unethical because it was without formal review by the medical community, the procedure demonstrated the viability of artificial hearts as a bridge to transplant in cardiac patients.
Currently not on view
Object Name
artificial heart
heart, artificial
date made
Liotta, Domingo
Physical Description
dacron (overall material)
polyurethane (overall material)
silastic (overall material)
overall, as stored: 7 1/2 in x 9 in x 6 1/2 in; 19.05 cm x 22.86 cm x 16.51 cm
overall: 18.7 cm x 22.8 cm x 16.4 cm; 7 3/8 in x 8 31/32 in x 6 15/32 in
place made
United States: Texas, Houston
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Health Care
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
National Treasures exhibit
Health & Medicine
Government, Politics, and Reform
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Denton Cooley, M.D.

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.