May 11, 1946

Robert Jarvik, a U.S. scientist who developed the Jarvik-7 heart with his mentor, Willem Kolff, was born in Midland, Michigan.

In 1982, Seattle dentist Dr. Barney Clark was the first person implanted with the Jarvik-7, the first artificial heart intended to last a lifetime. The patient survived 112 days.

According to the Lemelson-MIT Program, the Jarvik-7 is made of dacron polyester, plastic and aluminum with an internal power system that regulates the pump through a system of compressed air hoses entering the heart through the chest. The air hoses are connected to the chambers. The heart’s power system drives the pumps, which pump blood through the patient’s body.

The second patient to receive the Jarvik-7 lived for 620 days after implantation.