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 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 & Medicine
Government, Politics, and Reform
National Treasures exhibit
Health Care
Artificial Organs
Artificial Hearts
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
National Treasures exhibit
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Denton Cooley, M.D.

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