May 2013


Hearts are not meant to be broken

IECQ components help to advance artificial hearts

Aliyah Esmail

The heart has been a symbol of human emotion and complexity since before Common Era. The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart ruled the way people thought, their wisdom and who they were. The ancient Greeks thought that it was the heart, and not the brain, that controlled logic and emotion. It was in the Middle Ages, when Valentine’s Day gained popularity, that the concept of romantic love became associated with the broken heart.

Medicine moves less quickly then love

In a recent post, Shutterstock Blog explained that the ancient Greeks understood that blood pumped through the heart because of their experiments on dead bodies. They, however, were not able to understand that the heart could be replaced. But, as stated in, it was not until 1967, when South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard and his team of 30, successfully transplanted the first heart into a person. The patient died 18 days after the operation because of complications. In 1969, Barnard transplanted a heart into Dorothy Fisher, who survived for 24 years after the transplant.

Fewer heart transplants without technology

Today, around 100 000 people worldwide are waiting for heart transplants. There are only about 4 000 heart donors every year. Technological developments have profoundly altered the practice of medicine.


From the simplest to the most complex, medical devices increasingly rely on electronics. From the digital thermometer and blood pressure kit used at home to tele- and micro-surgery, the possibilities are infinite. French compnay CARMAT recently announced that in the next few months, Belgium, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia will be testing out the first fully artificial heart. This heart and other fully artificial organs would not be possible if each part did not work exactly as planned.

IECQ makes it safe and reliable

While safety, reliability and performance are important for all electronic devices, equipment and systems, they are crucial in the medical sector because lives are at stake. It is essential that only high quality components are used in the manufacturing of these devices.


IECQ certification allows all manufacturers and suppliers of electronic equipment, as well as medical practices and hospitals, to make sure the devices and equipment they acquire contain safe, reliable and high quality electronic components.


As a worldwide approval and certification system covering the supply of electronic components, assemblies and associated materials and processes, IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, tests and certifies components using quality assessment specifications based on IEC International Standards.


The wide range of electronic components covered by IECQ is used in all kinds of technologies, from the smallest device to the very complex equipment.


  • IECQ does worldwide approval and certification of electronic components in medical equipment. (Photo: CARMAT)
  • About 100 000 people worldwide are waiting for heart transplants so the first artificial heart may save thousands of lives. (Photo: CARMAT)
  • Components safety, reliability and performance are crucial in the medical sector because lives are at stake. (Photo: CARMAT)


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IEC e-tech May 2013


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