CHENNAI: For years scientists and doctors have tried to replicate the body’s organs and functions. Now, doctors in Scandinavia have managed to create a heart that pumps blood as much like the real heart. This has already been tested on pigs, doctors said, adding that the first human testing could happen as early as 2018.
While artificial hearts are not completely new to the world of medicine, all the previously manufactured mechanical heart devices have just one chamber pumping blood - the natural heart has four chambers - two sets of atria and two sets of ventricles. This new heart named the ‘Scandinavian Real Heart’ has all the four chambers, and thus functions better than the artificial hearts that are now available.
Also the pressure balance of the Scandinavian Heart resembles the natural heart (the heart’s left side has a higher pressure than the right). It has required pumping volume, pressure and pulse similar to the real heart.
“This heart can be used as a transitional solution for patients waiting for a heart transplant. If a patient is suffering from an end-stage heart failure and is unable to get a transplant, then this artificial heart can be used till a natural heart is found,” explained Goran Heller, professor of cardiac surgery, head of clinical studies, Karolinska University, who is one of the inventors of this new heart. He was in Chennai to take part in an event organised to mark the World Organ Day.
He said, “This heart lasts for 10 years as the engines die by then. So the recipients need another transplant at that point of time. But work is on to create a heart that would last longer.”
The Scandinavian Real Heart is made from titanium, which the doctor said is most body-friendly since it is not rejected by the body and does not cause any problems. “It is also an extremely light metal, weighing only 70 grams but is also strong,” Heller added.
All the previous testing has been done on pigs but human testing is just two years away, Heller said. It presently costs $150,000 but the doctors are aiming to make the heart available for $50,000.