Thanks to a circulating pump that dives a new artificial heart, we may one day soon be surrounded by people who are alive, but have no pulse. Heart disease is mankind’s biggest cause of death, but one doctor’s out to change that dramatically. Dr. William Cohn developed the rhythmless heart that uses a circulating pump, likening it to other inventions that don’t mimic nature perfectly. Much like fixed wing aircraft versus birds flapping their wings, this artificial heart takes a known premise of nature and moves it in an entirely new direction.
The new artificial heart design is one of the first inventions to actually take apart the old belief that the body can only work the way evolution developed it to. The heart’s beat, according to Cohn, is incidental and not necessary to the proper health of the patient. The new heart isn’t a machine that a patient’s hooked up to just to keep them alive while in the hospital. It’s an actual device that remains in the patient’s body until a human heart becomes available.
In the future similar artificial hearts may be used to extend lives indefinitely, giving patients whole lifetime without a pulse. Chon’s new artificial heart is yet another step closer to the promise of immortality. Whether we’ll ever actually achieve immortality in the physical sense is unknown, but technologies such as these are slowly making it a viable possibility.
More Information About Artificial Hearts
Artificial hearts, also known as a ventricular assist device (VAD) or total artificial heart (TAH), are mechanical devices designed to replace the function of a human heart temporarily or permanently. They serve as a life-saving measure for individuals with severe heart conditions, such as heart failure, where the natural heart is unable to pump blood effectively.
Here are some key points about artificial hearts:
Types of Artificial Hearts:
Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs):
These devices assist either the left ventricle (LVAD), right ventricle (RVAD), or both (BiVAD). They aid the weakened heart by helping it pump blood to the body.
Total Artificial Hearts (TAH):
TAH replaces the entire heart and its function. It consists of two ventricles and valves to pump blood throughout the body.
How They Work:
Typically, these devices are implanted to assist one side of the heart (left, right, or both). Blood flows into the device and is pumped out to the body, augmenting the heart’s function.
This replaces the entire heart and is connected to the body’s major blood vessels. It works by mimicking the natural pumping action of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.
Implantation and Use:
Bridge to Transplant:
Some artificial hearts are used temporarily, serving as a “bridge” for patients waiting for a heart transplant.
In cases where a patient isn’t eligible for a heart transplant, the artificial heart can serve as a long-term solution.
As with any implant, the risk of infection is present.
Blood-thinning medications are required due to the increased risk of bleeding.
Although rare, mechanical failure is a concern.
Advancements and Research:
Efforts are being made to create smaller and more efficient devices.
Research focuses on developing materials that reduce the risk of clotting and infection.
Advancements in wireless charging and data transmission aim to improve patient convenience and reduce infection risks associated with external components.
Notable Artificial Heart Devices:
HeartMate II and HeartMate 3 (LVADs):
Common left ventricular assist devices.
SynCardia Total Artificial Heart:
A TAH that replaces both ventricles and the heart’s valves.
Artificial hearts have significantly improved over the years, offering hope to individuals with severe heart conditions. Research and technological advancements continue to enhance their effectiveness, durability and safety.