Electronic Heart

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2017-12-11 09:55:56

Credit: labtronics.wordpress.com

Credit: labtronics.wordpress.com

Electronics has not only bestowed mankind with entertainment gadgets all around them making their life more enjoying but also proving a boon towards health devices, thus transforming man into a fully electronic man. Many electronics based health devices like hearing aid, pacemakers, bionic eyes, electronic nose etc. are proving to a great gift to the needful generation. Nothing is more human than the heart. Yes, that illustrious organ that pumps blood and its life-sustaining nutrients around our bodies nonstop until we die. It fuels the leader of the whole operation: the brain. Overall, it's safe to say that the heart is a rather important thing to have, and replacing one that isn't doing its job is not a trivial exercise, as even the best artificial hearts demand significant compromises to quality of life.

A true artificial heart would be able to replace a human heart in all the ways that matter. Chronic heart failure is a major health challenge and up to 40 per cent of sufferers die within the first year. The best form of treatment is a heart transplant, but the demand by far outweighs the supply. The technology currently used to help people with acute heart failure can only be used for a few days and involves the patient being attached to large external machines which need to be plugged into the mains power supply. Electronic heart could really be groundbreaking and more effective than any other therapy currently being used around the world. Recently, scientists have developed the world's first fully electronic heart for human transplant. The revolutionary man-made organ - the size of a grapefruit - has been produced in the U.S. in partnership with doctors in Germany. Until now transplant technology has only seen artificial hearts implanted alongside damaged organs to assist them. But the first recipient of the electronic heart will have his or her natural heart removed entirely. The smart electronic heart has the potential to not only extend a patient’s life, but also to provide them with mobility and comfort.

Doctor in charge predicts that the electronic heart developed at a cost of £15 million could be ready for use before the end of the year and could prevent hundreds of deaths every year through lack of heart donors. Electronic heart should be better than a normal heart transplant as it eliminates the need for the anti-rejection drugs which patients have to take for the rest of their lives. The new heart is powered by batteries stored inside the body which need recharging at regular intervals. A pump with a mini-motor controls blood flow to and from the heart. Electronic heart would be implanted in the patient's body and is entirely self-contained, eliminating the need for the patient to be hospitalized and wired to machinery. The battery-operated device would be implanted into a section of the aorta that has previously been removed in order to improve the heart's efficiency. The aorta is the large artery situated in the left ventricle of the heart. A tube is connected to the device, which is surrounded by a material that expands when a voltage is applied to it, causing it to act as a pump. The device would then create a counter blood flow by "beating out of phase with the diseased heart." Once the heart fills with blood, the tube contracts, therefore increasing pressure in the heart. The heart then pumps oxygenated blood around the body. This causes the tube to expand, releasing the pressure and increasing blood flow.

3D printing technology – projected to be a $3 billion business by 2016 – is rapidly evolving, particularly in the medical space. Using 3D printing techniques, the smart electronic hearts will be tailored for individual patients based on MRI scan data. Indeed, 3D printed orthopedic implants were recently fitted in Peking’s University Third Hospital in Beijing, while doctors at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan successfully transplanted 3D printed bones into four patients with cervical spine (cervical) disc herniation. Similarly, 3D printing tech helped Doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University repair a patient’s damaged skull in China, while researchers at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology used 3D printing technology to create living human kidneys. And now scientists at Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS (UK) Trust are developing an electronic smart pump to help victims of chronic heart failure.

It took ten hours for the new artificial heart to be implanted into a human during a procedure at Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris this past Wednesday. The “heart,” made by French company Carmat, can allegedly work for up to five years. You might be wondering what makes this special, since we've heard of artificial hearts before. Carmat’s is the first self-regulating artificial heart, meaning it will respond to the patient’s actual physiological needs. In other words, if the patient exercises, the artificial heart will beat faster as a real heart would. The enormity of this seemingly innocuous fact is hard to overstate. Previously, folks with artificial hearts had to leave completely different lives than they had before surgery. Since most artificial hearts beat at a constant rate, they can’t keep up with the demands of an active life. The heart, which is powered by an external lithium-ion battery pack that the patient wears, weighs in at two pounds. That’s because it’s loaded with sensors and microprocessors that monitor the changes inside the body. By keeping constant tabs on what the rest of the body is up to, it can slow down or speed up as needed. In its design, two chambers are each divided by a membrane that holds hydraulic fluid on one side. A motorized pump moves hydraulic fluid in and out of the chambers, and that fluid causes the membrane to move; blood flows through the other side of each membrane. The blood-facing side of the membrane is made of tissue obtained from a sac that surrounds a cow’s heart, to make the device more biocompatible. The idea was to develop an artificial heart in which the moving parts that are in contact with blood are made of tissue that is better suited for the biological environment.