How does an artificial heart work?

Does an artificial heart work just like a natural heart? And how long does it last?

Does an artificial heart work just like a natural heart? And how long does it last?

A normal heart beats about 70 beats per minute, and with each beat it pumps about 8 centiliters of blood through the bloodstream. The right ventricle pumps the blood to the lungs, where it absorbs oxygen, while the left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the body.

A French company develops an artificial heart

A French company, Carmat, has developed an artificial heart that completely mimics a normal heart. This artificial heart has now been approved for human trials, which will be carried out in Belgium.

The artificial heart from Carmat weighs 900 grams and has two chambers, separated by an organic membrane. Both the membrane and the heart valves are lined with cow cells.

The researchers hope that this organic material will prevent the blood from clotting, which is otherwise the most difficult problem with artificial hearts. The artificial heart is powered by two lithium batteries that the user wears in a special belt. The heart should last to beat at least 230 million times, or the equivalent of a 5-year lifespan.

An artificial heart can save lives

If this heart eventually becomes a reality, it can save many lives. Worldwide, at least 100,000 people suffer from heart failure, which affects both hemispheres of the heart.

Currently, donated hearts are really the only resource, but there are only about 4,000 donated hearts per year.

Hearts of the future from stem cells

Artificial hearts do not necessarily have to be mechanical. In 2013, it was possible to grow heart cells from stem cells. After 20 days, the cells began to contract rhythmically, just like a real heart. However, this heart tissue became very weak and the cells were too loosely connected.

Scientists hope that in the future, cultured tissue can replace damaged parts of heart tissue – and maybe in the future it will be possible to grow whole hearts.

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