Scientists in Australia have successfully implanted a bionic heart, that works without having a pulse, in a sheep.
The artificial heart, was designed by engineer Dr Daniel Timms in 2001 while he was studying at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and developed by BiVACOR Incorporation in conjunction with the Texas Heart Institute. The mechanism has a spinning disc with small blades on either side to pump blood throughout the body without actually beating. In other words, the wearer of this device would not have a pulse. The new disc design represents the departure from traditional pulse-based technology. Scientists believe the device can last at least 10 years.
A team of 25 specialists from Texas, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne removed the heart of a sheep and implanted the bionic heart. Professor John Fraser, from the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane says the spinning titanium disc kept the sheep alive and healthy. “It was walking and eating, without a native heart, six hours after surgery.”
The ground-breaking piece of technology could help bridge the gap between patients requiring heart transplants and the number of donor hearts available. “This is not just taking a tablet, changing blood pressure by a couple of points – we’re on the brink of a medical breakthrough that will change lives,” said Dr Fraser.
Given cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Australia, with 43,946 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2012, this is a monumental step in saving many lives around the world. The device is set for clinical human trials within three years.
[img source] BiVACOR Incorporated