3D-printed soft artificial heart


soft artificial heart

Design of an artificial heart tailored to individual patients took a big step forward today with the unveiling of the first 3D printed, entirely soft artificial heart. The silicone heart developed researchers at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, to make an artificial heart that mimics the real deal.

Currently used blood pumps have many disadvantages. The mechanical parts exposed to complications, while the patient lacks a physiological pulse, which assumed some consequences for the patient.

Artificial blood pumps

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.

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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.

The artificial heart has right and left ventricles. Well, not exactly like a real heart. In between the ventricles a chamber fills and deflates to create the pumping fluid from the blood chambers. Thus, replacing the muscle contraction of the human heart.

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Researchers proved that the soft artificial heart fundamentally works and moves in a similar way to a human heart. However, it currently lasts for about only 3,000 beats, which corresponds to a lifetime of 30 to 45 minutes in an hour.

Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student in the group, said, 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.

Currently, our system is probably one of the best in the world, says, Anastasios Petrou, a graduate student who led the testing, in ETH Zurich.

More information: [Willey Online Library]