Artificial Heart Beats Like Yours

A new artificial heart beats in a manner very similar to the one you were born with. This is the first new effort at the mechanical heart device for more than a decade. The device uses electronic sensors to regulate the heart rate and blood flow.


(Artificial heart diagram)

The device... was developed by Alain Carpentier, France's leading cardiac surgeon, and engineers from the group that makes Airbus aircraft. Presented yesterday, it was described by its inventors as the closest thing yet to the human heart. “If you show the graphs to a cardiac surgeon, he will say it's a human heart,” Professor Carpentier said. “But no, it’s not a human heart, it’s the prosthesis.”

Professor Carpentier said that he had reduced the risk of clots by creating the heart with a “pseudo-skin” of biosynthetic, microporous materials. “This has been the essential problem until now,” he said.

The artificial heart has been tested successfully in sheep and calves; human testing will happen within two years. The power supply for the heart is still in progress; one option is to have a rechargeable battery to power the heart. Don't go too far from the charger!

SF fans may recall that Captain Jean-Luc Picard required an artificial heart following an unfortunate incident in a bar brawl. A power surge from it almost killed him some years later.


(Picard takes one in the heart)

SF movie fans may recall The Family Heart Center from the 1987 movie Robocop; see the video below.


(The Family Heart Center from Robocop video)

Philip K. Dick wrote about artiforgs, artificial organs, that could be implanted next to the real ones for backup.

From Scientists develop artificial heart that beats like the real thing; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/29/2008)

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