“Heartless” Humans

People can live without hearts.

Here are some amazing people who lived without human hearts to circulate their blood.



Henry Opitek

He’s a man who used what is considered to be the world’s first mechanical heart.

In 1952, Mr. Opitek was suffering from a shortness of breath and chest pains.

A doctor developed Dodill-GMR – an external machine that allows doctors to detour blood and stop the heart of a patient during an operation. was used on a patient to restore his breathing pattern.

He died in 1981 – 29 years after the operation.



Craig Lewis

He’s the first man to have¬†his heart replaced with mechanical pumps.

In 2011, Mr. Lewis was dying from amyloidosis Рa rare autoimmune disease that causes rapid heart, kidney, and liver failure with a viscous protein.

Two doctors knew that¬†a pacemaker won’t help him, and decided to test a device that can help circulate blood without replicating pulses.¬†The prototype device is¬†a combination of two modified pumps. So far, Mr. Lewis is the only person to have benefitted from this device.

He died five weeks after the operation.




Jakub Halik

He’s the second man to undergo the procedure.

In 2012, when he was brought into the hospital, doctors found an aggressive tumor growing inside his heart. Doctors also told him that he wouldn’t survive a heart transplant because the drugs he would have to take afterwards are ineffective with his cancer.

Mr. Halik was given two battery-powered 20-cm pumps with propellers that spin at 10,000 rpm. Also, like the device implanted in Mr. Lewis, the pumps cannot replicate pulses.

He died six months after the operation.





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