Clip_63A 75-year-old Frenchman was feeding himself and chatting to his family more than a week after becoming the first person to be fitted with an artificial heart.

“He is awake, feeding himself and talking with his family. We are thinking of getting him up on his feet soon, probably as early as this weekend,” Professor Daniel Duveau told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD).

Heart-assistance devices have been used for decades as a temporary solution for patients awaiting transplants, but the bioprosthetic product made by French biomedical company Carmat is designed to replace the real heart over the long run, mimicking nature using biological materials and sensors.

It aims to extend life for patients suffering from terminal heart failure who cannot hope for a heart transplant, often because they are too old and donors too scarce.

Artificial HeartThe artificial heart, which can beat for up to five years, has been successfully tested on animals but the December 18, 2013 implant in a Paris hospital was the first in a human patient.

Three more patients in France are due to be fitted with the device.

In this first range of clinical trials, the success of the device will be judged on whether patients survive with the implant for at least a month.

The patients selected suffer from terminal heart failure – when the sick heart can no longer pump enough blood to sustain the body – and would otherwise have only a few days or weeks to live.

“When his wife and his daughter leave him, he tells them: ‘See you tomorrow!’ All he wants is to enjoy life. He can’t wait to get out of the intensive care unit, out of his room, and out of uncertainty.”

The heart weighs 2lb – three times the weight of a real heart – and contains bovine tissue and sensors that adapt the blood flow.

Developed by Airbus owner EADS, it is powered by batteries worn outside the body.

If it is made widely available it is expected to cost about £150,000.

The operation took place at Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris.

Surgeon Alain Carpentier said: It is about giving patients a normal social life.