Stories

Alexi McCammond May 24, 2017
SaveSave story

Scientists race to create artificial hearts

Jan Bauer / AP

Hearts are not the easiest organ to come by when a patient is in need of a transplant, so various companies are now working on ways to create artificial "robot" hearts, per The Guardian's Thomas Morris, who did a deep-dive on the subject.

So far, there are two types of artificial hearts:

  1. One that hasn't been tested on humans, but has "shown promising results" in animals, per Morris. Compared to pneumatic pumps, this version is significantly smaller, more efficient and more durable. It uses magnets to suspend the rotors that drive the blood.
  2. Another artificial heart was created by French surgeon Alain Carpentier and it was recently tested in humans. He worked with engineers "to design a pulsatile, hydraulically powered device whose unique feature is the use of bioprosthetic materials – both organic and synthetic matter." What makes it unique: The design actually mimics the shape of the heart — "the internal surfaces are lined with preserved bovine pericardial tissue, a biological surface far kinder to the red blood cells than the polymers previously used."