At ETH Zurich in Switzerland a team of engineers has been working to develop an artificial heart that mimics the anatomy and functionality of the real one as closely as possible. Their current prototype is 3D printed out of silicone, making it soft and pliable, and it is similarly sized to an average adult human heart. It has two ventricles and a pump that is powered externally using pneumatics.
Because the heart is modeled on the dynamics of the real one, it creates a pulse much like a natural one, a point that’s still controversial whether that’s important or not.
There’s still a great deal of work left to do before this heart design is anywhere close to pre-clinical trials, as it’s current lifetime is on the order of 3,000 heartbeats. The silicone begins to lose its integrity and the device essentially undergoes an infarct.
From the study in journal Artificial Organs:
The sTAH [soft total artificial heart] achieved a blood flow of 2.2 L/min against a systemic vascular resistance of 1.11 mm Hg s/mL (afterload), when operated at 80 bpm. At the same time, the mean pulmonary venous pressure (preload) was fixed at 10 mm Hg. Furthermore, an aortic pulse pressure of 35 mm Hg was measured, with a mean aortic pressure of 48 mm Hg. The sTAH generated physiologically shaped signals of blood flow and pressures by mimicking the movement of a real heart.
Here’s a video from a feasibility test:
Study in journal Artificial Organs: A Soft Total Artificial Heart—First Concept Evaluation on a Hybrid Mock Circulation…
Via: ETH Zurich…
(hat tip: Engadget)