TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sophisticated medical machines are giving people with weak hearts longer lives.
Now, more and more often they are taking the place of heart transplants.
Doctor Marvin Slepian co-founded SynCardia, a Tucson company that makes a total artificial heart.
As part of his work at University of Arizona, he leads the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation--a center to meet unmet medical needs and develop new medical devices.
He says devices to boost weak hearts are becoming small enough to be entirely inside a patient's body.
The ideal is to use devices to keep someone alive until a heart transplant but there's much more demand than natural hearts available.
"We will fill the gap by using mechanical circulatory support to address many of those patients giving them quality of life and an extended life span to be in normal activities and with their loved ones."
The doctor says many people will live the rest of their lives with the help of these new medical devices. He brought the 25th annual conference of the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support to Loews Ventana Canyon resort in Tucson.