First Entirely Soft Artificial Heart Beats Almost Like the Real Thing
ETH Zurich researchers say they have developed the first entirely soft artificial heart - made of silicone, the heart was manufactured using a 3D printer and weighs 390 grams. A well-functioning artificial heart is a real necessity: about 26 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure while there is a shortage of donor hearts. Artificial blood pumps help to bridge the waiting time until a patient receives a donor heart or their own heart recovers. Unlike artificial hearts in use today, this one is about the same size as the original. It has a left and right ventricle, just like a real heart. An additional chamber acts as the heart's muscle, driving the pump. The silicone heart behaves very much like a real human heart. It currently lasts for about only 3,000 beats, which corresponds to a lifetime of about half an hour. After that, the material can no longer withstand the strain.