total artificial heart

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

Of all the organs to take out of your body, the heart is the most dramatic. About 90 people in the Pacific Northwest are on a wait-list for a heart transplant. While they're waiting, many are confined to bed, for months or even years at a time, with an artificial heart connected to a 418-pound pump. 

A new artificial heart allows them to walk around, and, now, even leave the hospital. It’s still considered experimental, although it’s been used more than 1,000 times around the world.

The first person to walk onto the streets of Seattle with an artificial heart—plus its external battery pack—exited the University of Washington Medical Center on Wednesday.