To keep them alive and ease their symptoms until a donor heart becomes available, engineers at Cardianove Inc., Montreal, have developed a small electric pump that fits inside a human heart. Using advanced software from IBM and Dassault Systemes, the designers developed the pump in 36 months, two years quicker than it typically takes to design such a device.

The pump will be machined out of titanium and have blades that are 100-microns thick. A battery located outside the patient's body will send electricity through the skin without using wires. The 22-mm-diameter pump will spin at 10,000 to 12,000 rpm. The company hopes to have the pump approved for human use in four years, and its ultimate goal is to build a more permanent pump with an operational life of 10 years or more.