An Abstract on the Article "A Change of Heart"
An abstract from the news article “A Change of Heart” by Stephen Dark
Behind the gift of each day that Barney Clark got to live after his life-changing operation lay 20 years of driven, innovative work. The roots of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart trace back to Kolff, a Dutch immigrant, inventor, and worldwide pioneer, who joined the University of Utah in 1967 to run its artificial organs division at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. His team, which included many investigators, surgeons, and physician-scientists, developed and tested numerous iterations of what’s known as the Utah Total Artificial Heart, leading up to the Jarvik-7 that beat in Clark’s chest.
Forty years on from Barney Clark’s life-changing operation, the legacy that was the gift of his own life for the furtherance of medical science remained as vibrant as ever. It was a gift that, four decades ago, former University of Utah President Chase Peterson told reporters stemmed from Clark’s faith that something good would come out of it for patients with failing hearts. “If other people do get a quality of life that is more obviously satisfactory,” Peterson said, “they better thank Barney Clark.”
That same faith continues today, whether in the confident hands and hearts of Craig Selzman, Stavros Drakos, Robin Shaw, and TingTing Hong or all the other heart researchers, physicians, and support staff at U of U Health over the decades.
A faith that their interdisciplinary efforts in cardiovascular research—to gain a deeper understanding of the heart and use that knowledge to create new tests and treatments—will indeed change people’s lives for the better.
Heart Research and Innovation at U of U Health
The innovation that led to Barney Clark’s artificial heart transplant is one thread of so many more in the history of U of U Health’s and its partners’ commitment to remaining on the frontline of cardiovascular care.
Below is a timeline of U of U Health’s discoveries that have had a powerful impact on understanding and advancing treatment of cardiovascular disorders, and improving the health of cardiac patients worldwide.