For people who need new hearts, machine may soon eclipse Mother Nature. There are a very limited number of hearts available for transplant in any given year, generating a very real issue for the more than 5.7 million people in the U.S. living with heart failure who could benefit from a transplant. As a result, many take advantage of mechanical heart pump technology that can improve their lives right now rather than sitting on a long transplant wait list. That mechanical technology is rapidly improving. In terms of health outcomes, the latest data suggests patients with a HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) had survival rates through two years nearly equivalent to those who received a heart transplant. Could machines become the preferred choice for a new heart in the future? 'We're a lot closer to that reality than most people think,' said Kevin Bourque, vice president of research and development for the mechanical circulatory support business at Abbott. 'Transplants aren't magic; they can create some real complications. The rate of improvements on the pump technology and maintenance means it's not unreasonable to think that patients who have a choice would start picking the device as their 'forever heart' over a spot on the heart transplant wait list.'