There are many indisputable scientific facts about the human body. We must drink water to help our kidneys filter toxins from our body. We need oxygen in order for our lungs to circulate oxygen to our muscles and tissues. And we need a heart that beats to sustain the entire system and make every biological process our body performs possible. Except not Craig Lewis. The 55-year-old Texan is the first person to live without a pulse. How is it possible? A device installed by two physicians that have now allowed the man to successfully exist, sans heartbeat.

In March 2010, Lewis was dying. He had a heart condition that caused build-ups of abnormal proteins, and not even a pacemaker could save his life. There seemed to be no options left, until Dr. Billy Cohen and Dr. Bud Frazier came up with the idea to install a “continuous flow” device that would allow blood to circulate through his body…without a heart.

The device was first tested on calves. The doctors removed the heart from nearly 50 of the animals and replaced them with the device. The next day, the calves were doing everything they had the day before, exactly as they always had, only this time they had a machine pumping blood through their system. Much is the same for Craig Lewis. A day after his operation, he was conscious, alert, and speaking with the physicians who saved his life.

The first artificial human heart pump prototype was installed in 1969 by Dr. Denton Cooley, but now, given the leaps and bounds that have evolved medical science and technology over the years, devices such as the one in Craig Lewis are capable of sustaining a human being much more effectively and give hope for a cure of many seemingly irreparable heart conditions in the future.

Heart Stop Beating | Jeremiah Zagar from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.