SCIENCES

Ticker: The Quest To Create an Artificial Heart

Crown. Aug. 2018. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780804138000. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780804138017. MED
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This story of the development of a variety of heart-assisting or heart-replacing devices focuses on key individuals at premier hospitals in Houston. The only thing grander than the goal is the size of doctors' competing egos as they vie to be first to develop or implant a working artificial heart. Desperate patients are treated little better than the calves used for experiments. The hospitals proclaim them to be examples of success while the media reports horrible failure when critically ill volunteers die days later. Informal and chatty in tone, this history could pass for a soap opera except for the stories that are cut short. Readers are introduced to a couple who fall in love, marry, and then the husband feels ill. They disappear from the narrative till much later, when the husband receives an experimental device but succumbs to his illness four weeks later. After many promising attempts readers will wonder if there will ever be a viable, long-term artificial heart.
VERDICT For fans of nonfiction with a little suspense and drama. Not recommended for animal lovers or people looking for a more academic treatment. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]

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