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British cardio-surgeons created "bionic heart"

Thousands of terminally ill Britons awaiting a heart transplant could be thrown a lifeline by a motorised implant plumbed into the chest.

The device effectively creates a new ‘bionic’ organ, meshing heart muscle and machine.

The groundbreaking implant, due to be offered to patients from next year, contains a tiny motor that assists the pumping action of the existing heart muscle by helping it push oxygenated blood out into the body.

While about 200 heart transplants take place annually in the UK, an estimated 1,300 men, women and children die every year waiting for a new organ, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Left-sided ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are put into about 30 adults and children in the UK each year as a ‘bridge to transplant’, to buy time while a donor organ is found.

But they carry the risk of blood clots and stroke, and often an organ does not become available in time to save the patient.

The new device is a safe, permanent solution, its developers claim.