10 June 2015

The Human Engine: artificial hearts

For all those heart patients who’ve lost hope, ones with severe heart failure whose death is imminent, ‘artificial hearts’ come to your rescue. How scary is it to imagine the death of a loved one, who suffers from a heart condition? It could be your mother, brother, sister, father, spouse, child, anyone! Here is an article to give you the information that you might not be aware of. 

What exactly is this?

·        Firstly, don’t confuse it with a ventricular assist device which is designed to support a failing heart.
·        It is also distinct from a cardiopulmonary bypass machine which is an external device used to provide the functions of both the heart and lungs and are only used for a few hours at a time, most commonly during cardiac surgery. An artificial heart is a device that replaces the heart. Artificial hearts are typically used to bridge the time to heart transplantation, or to permanently replace the heart in case heart transplantation is impossible. 

Simple mathematics..

Problem: The demand for organs always greatly exceeds the supply
Solution: We invent what the mankind has been waiting for, a ray of hope, an artificial heart.
The AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart is the first completely self-contained artificial heart and is expected to at least double the life expectancy of heart patients.

Artificial brings to life:

Patients with an implanted AbioCor heart will still have atria that beat at the same time, but the artificial heart, which replaces both ventricles, can only force blood out one ventricle at a time. So, it will alternately send blood to the lungs and then to the body, instead of both at the same time as a natural heart does. The AbioCor is able to pump more than 10 liters per minute, which is enough for everyday activities.
·        Hydraulic pump
·        Porting valve
·        Wireless energy transfer system- consists of two coils, one internal and one external, which transmit power via magnetic force from an external battery across the skin without piercing the surface. The internal coil receives the power and sends it to the internal battery and controller device. This is the most intriguing part of the device given that the device Is made of plastic and titanium.
·        Internal battery- A rechargeable battery is implanted inside the patient's abdomen. This gives a patient 30 to 40 minutes to perform certain activities, such as showering, while disconnected from the main battery pack.
·        External battery
·        Controller

Historic attempts

·        Pheonix-7
·        Jarvik-7
·        abioCor
·        AbioCor-II
·        Berlin Heart
·        MagScrew
·        SynCardia
·        Frazier-Cohn
·        CARMAT
·        POLVAD

Until now AbioCor-II is the only successful artificial heart that has been successful to increase life expectancy by a maximum of 5 years. Not only will this mark a very important phase in the evolution of technology, but also decrease the number of unnecessary deaths due to unavailability of organ to transplant. Let’s just hope we are able to develop artificial hearts that increase life expectancy by way more than 5 years.