Twenty-years ago groups from California to Massachusetts were actively involved in the development of an artificial heart. From biomaterials development to biomedical power sources, the supporting industry and spin-off benefit was broad indeed. Young people were seeking careers in biomedical engineering and science. The National Institutes of Health was supporting artificial heart research at $10 to $12 million dollar levels. Groups at Andros, Inc. (now Baxter Novacor) and Stanford, Thoratec, Penn State and the Hershey Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic and the Division of Artificial Organs, the University of Utah, the Texas Heart Institute and the Baylor College of Medicine, Thermal Electron Corporation, and many more were the source of research and breakthrough development of pumps and systems for artificial hearts. We reported on performance criteria for an artificial heart pump at the First Biomechanics Symposium in 1973 [1]. By the beginning of the decade of the 90’s, thousands of presentations had been made and manuscripts written reporting significant progress in the development of artificial heart pumps and systems. The Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health was supporting an artificial heart contract research and development program at a level of $6 million dollars in 1991 [2]. Broad basic research grant activity also continues. The National Institutes of Health’s artificial heart program received renewed support from the Institute of Medicine’s special review in 1991 [3]. In December of 1992, the 16th Annual Cardiovascular Science and Technology Conference attracted over 500 attendees. This annual conference has provided a continuing forum for an update on progress in artificial heart development.

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