Demikhov's "Mechanical Heart": The Circumstances Surrounding Creation of the World's First Implantable Total Artificial Heart in 1937

ASAIO J. 2016 Jan-Feb;62(1):106-9. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000000301.


The world's first implantable total artificial heart was designed by Vladimir Demikhov as a fourth year biology student in Voronezh, Soviet Union, in 1937. As a prototype of his device, Demikhov must have used an apparatus for extracorporeal blood circulation invented by Sergei Bryukhonenko of Moscow. The device was the size of a dog's native heart and consisted of two diaphragm pumps brought into motion by an electric motor. A dog with an implanted device lived for 2.5 hours. In addition to having the prototype, the preconditions for Demikhov's artificial heart creation were his manual dexterity, expertise in animal physiology, and his mechanistic worldview.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Extracorporeal Circulation / history*
  • Heart, Artificial / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • USSR

Personal name as subject

  • Vladimir Demikhov