For the first time, an artificial heart that serves as a permanent pump has been inserted into an Israeli patient. The pump is designed to keep elderly people who are unsuited for organ transplant alive and functioning. The operation, carried out successfully on Wednesday on a 67-year-old man at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, was announced on Thursday. The patient had been hospitalized in very serious condition and in immediate danger for over a month, during which no conventional treatment helped him. His cardiac function dropped to 10 percent of normal. Dr. Michael Weiner, head of Clalit Health Services' northern district, arranged for the sophisticated artificial heart made by the Gamida company to be brought from abroad. A team headed by Prof. Dan Aravot, Prof. Basil Lewis and Dr. Ofer Amir performed the surgery over six hours. The patient's own heart remained in his body, while the artificial pump assists it in pumping blood. The man awoke immediately after surgery, and eight hours later he was disconnected from his respirator as his coronary function was optimal. He is now awake, sitting up and speaking to his doctors. The artificial heart, unlike others that are only temporary until a patient can get an organ transplant, is the size of a cellular phone and implanted in the chest cavity. Small batteries on a belt are attached to wires leading to the heart, making it possible for him to function normally.