Jul 172017

The artificial heart imitates a human heart as closely as possible. (Photo: Zurich Heart)

ETH researchers from the Functional Materials Laboratory have developed a silicone heart that beats almost like a human heart. In collaboration with colleagues from the Product Development Group Zurich, they have tested how well it works.

It looks like a real heart. And this is the goal of the first entirely soft artificial heart: to mimic its natural model as closely as possible. The silicone heart has been developed by Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student in the group led by Wendelin Stark, Professor of Functional Materials Engineering at ETH Zurich. The reasoning why nature should be used as a model is clear. Currently used blood pumps have many disadvantages: their mechanical parts are susceptible to complications while the patient lacks a physiological pulse, which is assumed to have some consequences for the patient.

“Therefore, our goal is to develop an artificial heart that is roughly the same size as the patient’s own one and which imitates the human heart as closely as possible in form and function,” says Cohrs. A well-functioning artificial heart is a real necessity: about 26 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure while there is a shortage of donor hearts.  Artificial blood pumps help to bridge the waiting time until a patient receives a donor heart or their own heart recovers.

The soft artificial heart was created from silicone using a 3D-printing, lost-wax casting technique; it weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cm3. “It is a silicone monoblock with complex inner structure,” explains Cohrs. This artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, just like a real human heart, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is in- and deflated by pressurized air and is required to pump fluid from the blood chambers, thus replacing the muscle contraction of the human heart.

Thinking in a new direction

Anastasios Petrou, a doctoral student of the Product Development Group Zurich, led by Professor Mirko Meboldt evaluated the performance of this soft artificial heart. The young researchers have just published the results of the experiments in the scientific journal Artificial Organs.

They proved that the soft artificial heart fundamentally works and moves in a similar way to a human heart. However, it still has one problem: it currently lasts for about only 3,000 beats, which corresponds to a lifetime of half to three quarters of an hour. After that, the material can no longer withstand the strain. Cohrs explains: “This was simply a feasibility test. Our goal was not to present a heart ready for implantation, but to think about a new direction for the development of artificial hearts.” Of course, the tensile strength of the material and the performance would have to be enhanced significantly.

Learn more: Testing a soft artificial heart


The Latest on: artificial heart
  • Diagnosing heart disease with artificial intelligence
    on January 17, 2018 at 9:14 am

    INTRO: Researchers at the University of Oxford are revolutionising the way we diagnose heart disease, using artificial intelligence, as Stuart McDill reports. INTRO: Researchers at the University of Oxford are revolutionising the way we diagnose heart ... […]

  • A ‘new world’ of surgery: President Nelson helped revolutionize open-heart operations
    on January 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle.” That experience led President Nelson to join a group of doctors in Minneapolis that would go on to develop the world’s first artificial heart-lung machine, which keeps a patient’s blood and oxygen circulating during ... […]

  • Duke creates artificial heart muscle. It could one day save your life
    on November 29, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Duke University biomedical engineers have created what they say is the world’s first artificial heart muscle that’s large enough to, some day, reduce the need for complicated and expensive heart transplant surgeries. Because heart muscle cannot ... […]

  • This Artificial Heart 'Patch' Can Repair You After A Heart Attack
    on November 28, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Scientists at Duke University have created a fully-functioning artificial heart muscle that can actually be patched over the damage caused by a heart attack. This beating ‘patch’ then acts like a giant living plaster and is able to beat just like a ... […]

  • This 3-D-printed artificial heart actually beats
    on July 20, 2017 at 12:41 am

    (CNN)A heart of gold may be hard to find, but a heart of silicone may be within reach. Engineers at ETH Zurich used 3-D printing to make a soft, artificial heart made of the implantable material, according to research published last week in the journal ... […]

  • 3D-Printed Artificial Heart Pumps Blood Like Real Organ, May Save Transplant Patients
    on July 17, 2017 at 5:26 am

    An artificial heart made with a 3D printer uses air pressure to mimic the movements of the real organ and can one day be used to pump blood for people on heart transplant lists, potentially giving them more time to wait for a donor. The soft device is made ... […]

  • Plastics and the artificial heart
    on July 6, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Anaheim, Calif. — BiVACOR, an artificial heart that can go on beating forever using a small spinning rotor that levitates in a magnetic field, could be implanted in a human in about 18 months, heart surgeon Dr. William E. "Billy" Cohn said. Cohn said ... […]

  • 11-Year-Old Boy Becomes One of the Youngest to Get Artificial Heart
    on January 18, 2017 at 9:49 am

    An Illinois boy has become one of the youngest people to receive an artificial heart after recently getting the life-saving device implanted at age 11, doctors said. Jaheim Whigham is the youngest person to be given a new kind of artificial heart ... […]

  • Permanent total artificial heart could eliminate the need for transplants
    on March 24, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list, and every day, 22 people on average die waiting for a match, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. But, thanks to innovations in bioengineering, all of that could change. […]

  • French artificial heart patient home and 'leading normal life'
    on January 19, 2015 at 7:43 am

    The second patient to receive a pioneering artificial heart has left hospital and is living a “completely normal life”, the French heart transplant specialist behind the mechanical organ said on Friday. Sprightly academic Professor Alain Carpentier, 81 ... […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: