The number of hospitals certified to use the CardioWest Total Artificial Heart-temporary (TAH-t), made by SynCardia Systems (Tucson, Arizona), is expected to grow from nine transplant hospitals worldwide in 2005 to 28 in 2006, CEO Rodger Ford told stockholders at the company's annual meeting. The TAH-t is the only FDA-approved device capable of providing circulatory restoration in morbidly ill patients with irreversible bi-ventricular failure, bridging them to transplantation when a donor human heart becomes available.

SynCardia will add two hospitals a month to its implant program, making the TAH-t life-saving technology available to more physicians and patients, according to Ford. He said that when SynCardia reaches its 2006 goal, it would have been converted from a scientific venture into a profitable business.

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