Back to the future: Penn State Heart to Penn State Health

Center Daily | Lori Falce


In 1985, everyone was following Marty McFly into the past and jumping ahead with the movie “Back to the Future.”

Take a look at the Centre Daily Times from Oct. 21, 1985, the day that Michael J. Fox’s character took off in his supercharged Delorean-based time machine, and you see that the Cardinals were up by two games over the Royals in the World Series. The Steelers had just scored a “must” victory, also over the St. Louis Cardinals, before the football team moved to Phoenix. There was a guest editorial about helping learning-disabled children learn better.

And there was the Penn State Heart.

While many remember the Jarvik 7, the artificial heart implanted into a man in 1982, three decades later, it can slip people’s minds that Penn State was also on the cutting edge of artificial organ design.

On that October day, the recipient of that piece of Penn State medical engineering had received the technology. The article spoke about the case as people followed along. There had been some speech problems and questions about whether the patient suffered a stroke. Not so, doctors said. The patient would live 27 days with the device. Continue reading