More than 23 million people worldwide will experience heart failure, and for most, a heart transplant is necessary. Unfortunately, heart donations are extremely hard to come by. Although artificial hearts have existed since the 1980s, the patient survival rate has been disappointingly low. One 68-year-old Frenchman is slowly changing the track record of artificial hearts, however. Six months after receiving his Carmat “true artificial heart,” the Frenchman is reportedly living a “completely normal life.”

On Aug. 5, 2013, a 68-year-old Frenchman, who chose to remain anonymous, became the recipient of the world’s first “true” artificial heart. The 2-pound heart, created by Carmat, is half-cow, half-robotic technology. Unlike previous models of artificial hearts, it is completely self-supporting, The Smithsonian reported. The unique use of cow tissue with manmade material also helps to prevent blood clotting, and patients would be less reliant on anti-coagulants, Newser reported. The surgery was conducted at the University of Nantes hospital in France.

This month marked the six-month milestone of the unnamed patient’s survival, a truly remarkable feat considering that the previous recipient of the Carmat heart survived a mere 75 days. The surgery to implant the heart has also improved, decreasing by two hours in time when compared to the previous surgery, which took place in December 2013. According to the Carmat heart’s inventor, Dr. Alain F. Carpentier, the patient is not only living but thriving and able to enjoy “a completely normal life...” and is even able to use a stationary pedal bike, Le Parisien reported.

While the news of the current patient’s impressive survival sounds promising, the Carmat heart does have setbacks. First, it's extremely expensive, with reports stating that a single heart will sell for anything between $162,000 and $246,000, depending on the sources. Also, the device is slightly heavier than a natural human heart, which means it's slightly too large to be used in females. (The device has a compatibility of 86 percent in men but only 20 percent in women.)

Carpentier hopes his device can help to sidestep the deficit of available heart donations. Theoretically, the external lithium battery would allow the heart to beat for five years, which could buy a patient time until a heart becomes available. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in the United States a person is added to the organ transplant list every 10 minutes. An average of 18 people a day die while waiting for an organ.