Artificial Hearts – The Bridge to Survival
with intervention by Judith Fegerl /Peter Garmusch / Stephanie Pflaum / Samuel Schaab / Anna Witt
Duration of the exhibition: May 5 - October 7, 2017
Curator: Klaus Wassermann & Moritz Stipsicz
Scientific Exhibition Team: Ernst Wolner & Heinrich Schima
The Vienna artificial heart programme for providing mechanical circulatory support started 50 years ago with the appointment of pioneering cardiac surgeon Jan Navratil at the Department of Surgery II. After partial successes with the intra-aortal balloon pump, the following years saw the development of the ellipsoid heart as a total heart replacement. This was then refined to produce the “Vienna heart".
The Vienna group also played a pioneering role in the concept of much smaller, high-speed rotary pumps, which are now the measure of all things related to cardiac support. The breakthrough in rotary pumps for human patients came in 1998, in Berlin and Vienna. Today thousands of patients worldwide are fitted with these rotary pumps. The long-term clinical results are now so good that the new rotary pumps are increasingly being used instead of heart transplants. More and more people are now managing to enjoy a good quality of life for 5 years or more with a pump of this kind.
The Vienna artificial heart programme evolved over the years to become one of the largest in Europe. Today thousands of the rotary pumps that were jointly developed in Vienna are fitted every year worldwide. The presentation of these huge scientific achievements and the impressive artificial hearts from Vienna General Hospital is supplemented by historical medical exhibits from the Josephinum. Also on display for the very first time are the Josephinian coloured drawings depicting the open heart, which date from the founding of the Josephinum at the end of the 18th century and were revolutionary in their day. There are also interventions by contemporary artists relating in their different ways to the theme of the heart, some of these works having been created specifically for the exhibition.
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