14 July 2017 | News
This artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, just like a real human heart, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber.
A small team at ETH Zurich, led by doctoral student Nicholas Cohrs, has created what they say is the first artificial heart that’s entirely soft, with its pumping mechanism achieved by causing the silicone ventricles to pump just like a real heart.
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.
This artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, just like a real human heart, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is in- and deflated by pressurized air and is required to pump fluid from the blood chambers, thus replacing the muscle contraction of the human heart.
The researchers have proved that the soft artificial heart fundamentally works and moves in a similar way to a human heart. However, it still has one problem: it currently lasts for about only 3,000 beats, which corresponds to a lifetime of half to three quarters of an hour.
The team’s objective was not to present a heart ready for implantation, but to think about a new direction for the development of artificial hearts. The tensile strength of the material and the performance would have to be enhanced significantly.