Artificial Heart is Half Machine, Half Cow
Kyle Maxey posted on May 31, 2013 |
: Artificial heart to use bovine membrane, software and sensors. 
Medicine, heart, france, bio prosthetic, prosthetic, A human heart beats approximately 35M times every year. If it fails, as happens to 5.6 million people annually in the U.S.A., the prognosis is grim - -most will die within a year of entering the hospital.

Even if treated, most patients can’t resume normal activity levels.  A team of French biomedical engineers have now created a unique artificial heart whose materials and algorithms allow it to adjust to the patient’s activity.

The “Carmat” prosthetic uses a motorized pump that shifts hydraulic fluid from the first chamber of the heart into the second, pushing out blood into the circulatory system.

Unfortunately, that means both the hydraulic fluid and the blood have to be in the chamber at the same time, and getting hydraulic fluid in your blood will kill you pretty quick. To keep the fluids separate, Carmat uses an organic membrane originally belonging to a cow.

According to Piet Jansen, Carmat’s chief medical officer “The idea was to develop an artificial heart in which the moving parts that are in contact with blood are made of tissue that is [better suited] for the biological environment.”

Aside from being a biomechanical wonder, Carmat’s device also carries with it a suite of sensors and software that can increase and decrease the pressure being produced to meet the demands of a patient’s activity.

In coming months, Carmat’s prototype is set to be tested in four cardiac surgery centers across Europe and the Middle East. If successful, the device could be a life-saver for the 5.7 million people – in the US alone – that suffer heart failure each year. 

Source: MIT Technology Review

Recommended For You