17 Sep 2009

NZ scientists develop new heart pump

4:17 pm on 17 September 2009

Scientists at Auckland University have developed a wireless heart pump that could eventually provide an alternative to heart transplants.

The university has gone into partnership with an American company and plans to start human trials within two years.

Currently, heart pumps require wires, which can lead to infections, and 40% of patients who get a pump die as a result.

One of those leading the project, Dr Simon Malpas, says the wireless system passes power across the patient's skin, avoiding the infection problem.

Dr Malpas says a heart transplant is the preferred course, but few who need it will receive one because of the shortage of organs for transplant.