Heart diseases annually kill up to 17 million lives worldwide. 20 thousand people die annually in the U.S. alone, not waiting for donor organ transplantation. ?Currently, under the artificial heart are understood two groups of technical devices. The first category includes heart-lung machine. They consist of a blood pump, pumping blood, and block oxygenator, which saturate the blood with oxygen. This equipment is widely used in cardiac surgery, in operations on the heart. The second category includes cardiovascular prostheses, technical devices, implanted in the human body, designed to replace the heart muscle and improve the quality of life. It should be noted that currently these devices are only experimental and clinical trials. Today’s generation of artificial hearts – a device the size of a thumb, which are implanted in the chest and pump blood from the cavity of the heart into the aorta. These devices have to recharge every four hours, using the external power supply. Since 2000, in the U.S., such “ventricular prosthesis” surgeons transplanted 220 patients.
Most of this prosthesis is used to ensure that the patient was able to survive until donor organ transplantation. The project involved several research groups from around the world, including experts in space technology from EADS. Developed new device specialists CARMAT, the biomedical branch of the European Aerospace Defence and Space Company (EADS), led by Professor Alan Carpenter from the hospital named after Georges Pompidou in Paris. Scientists have tried to make the artificial heart, which both in appearance and its technical characteristics was most similar to the “native” body. A working prototype is ready, but the first industrial design, scientists hope to get only two and a half years. The heart, developed CARMAT, there were few competitors. Between 2001 and 2004, the company Abiomed has developed a prototype, which is clinically tested, but was not very successful. 14 patients who participated in the study lived an average of five months. Company MagScrew used calves for the test of his prosthesis in 2005. But the results of their work are not the object of further tests. ?The new heart is primarily aimed at patients who suffered a massive heart attack and who are experiencing frequent heart failure, as well as those who do not help medication, pacemakers or impossible to transplant a donor organ. “I often watched as the young, active people under the age of 40 years, died of heart disease – says Carpenter. – That is why we have developed a device that is able to help those who cannot wait for heart transplants due to lack of donor organs. ” The work lasted for almost 15 years in secrecy. According to Carpenter, the creators managed to avoid some of the design errors that were observed in other experimental models. This new device beats almost exactly like the real human heart. It uses electronic sensors, which were previously used in guided missiles, to regulate heart rate and level of blood flow. The new heart is covered with established from porcine cartilage tissue, which avoids conflict with the immune system of the recipient, and most importantly – does not allow the formed thrombus. It clots and become a major problem with the implantation of artificial valves in his heart. “If you show the electrocardiogram, taken with our prosthesis, a cardiologist, he says, most likely, it is the human heart – says Carpenter – but so is working prosthesis. The artificial heart has been tested in calves and in the human body by means of computer simulation. According to Carpenter, the complications of the working group during the test are not observed. Details of the new prosthesis, according to developers are decent margin of safety. But as long as a significant obstacle to full implementation of an artificial heart has a problem with power. The battery in the prototype runs from 5 to 16 hours, after which it must be recharged to prevent the stop device. The team is now considering two options for Carpenter recharge the battery none of them does not require implantation of a patient’s tissue wires, which are always a source of infection. Now CARMAT required obtaining approval of the French authorities to conduct clinical trials. Experts in the field of Cardiology warn that need to scrutinize the new device, because previous attempts to create a fully artificial heart had failed just at the time of testing on humans.
How to say the creators of a new prosthesis, mass-produced copies cost about ? 120 thousand. However, as of 2009 did not create an effective human implantable prosthetic heart. A number of leading cardiac clinics conduct successful partial replacement of the organic components of the artificial, for example, replacing valves, large vessels, atria, ventricles. It should also be noted that quite successfully performed a transplant donor hearts. ?In addition to cardio surgery, there is a medico-psychological aspect of the problem of an artificial heart. For example, a quarter of patients after surgery prosthetic valvular in the postoperative period formed a specific psychopathological symptoms, received the name syndrome of Skumin described in 1978. It is possible that a similar problem will be faced in conducting large-scale operations to implant an artificial heart.