When someone once said 3D technology would save lives one day, I think the days are here. This comes as Swiss researchers say they have now developed an artificial heart that works like the real human heart. While other artificial hearts have proven to be difficult to integrate into the human body, the research team in ETH Zurich, Switzerland led by Nicholas Cohrs says they had use soft and flexible material that is 3D printable for easy integration into the human tissue even though they say the heart isn’t ready yet.
Cohrs in a statement said “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” and describing just what his heart concept looks like, he said it’s a “silicone monoblock with complex inner structure” which weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cm3 with the left and right ventricles. By using a monoblock design structure which is how the human heart looks, they can design all other mechanisms that make the natural heart functions properly and this brings their model more to reality.
As seen in the attached video, it looks like the researchers pump a blood-like fluid at human body pressures successfully even though they say there’s still work to be done. This is because the materials used in the current model may last barely an hour or a couple of thousand heartbeats and this makes it far from being a practical solution at the moment.
But what this means is that with more work put in, the era of waiting long for heart transplants could soon be a thing of the past. The research which is published in the Artificial Organs journal tells us little about future side effects of the design in the human body.
In any case there are about 26 million people worldwide suffering different heart conditions so this could save lives when the work is perfected with new designs and materials.