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In industrial nations, approximately 1-2% of the population suffers from severe heart failure summing up to 10 Million people in Europe.
Heart transplantation is the only curative treatment of end stage heart failure. However, the number of patients on the waiting lists for organ transplantation is increasingly disproportionate to the number of heart transplants. An alternative treatment option of patients with end stage heart failure is the use of mechanical circulatory assist devices (VAD) in order to support the function of the failing heart. However, there is a number of unresolved problems associated with the use of ventricular assist devices.
The Zurich Heart project was initiated with the goal to improve critical components of contemporary assist devices regarding energy supply, system regulation, and surface properties. (System Modification).
In the long run, the Zurich Heart project also aims at disruptive innovations and technologies towards radically new artificial heart designs and assist device technologies of tomorrow (Alternative Systems).