Artificial hearts have
improved greatly since then and tbey are now made
of new plastics less likely to cause blood clots.
There are expriments to coat the heart surfaces
with cells from the patient's own body. These
cells, called [endothelial cells], were taken from
the interior of blood vessels, and were a better
match to the body than plastics.
Some new artificial hearts,
still being tested on animals differ from real
hearts in that they do not beat. It has been
found that the pulse only serves the purpose of
giving the heart muscle a chance to rest.
Artificial materials do not need that and an
articifial heart that does not beat causes les
damage to surrounding tissue. This reduces the
chances of infection.
Other bioengineers in Penn
State have been experimenting with an artificial
heart that can recieve electricity through
unbroken skin. Its batteries provide enough power
to run the heart for about a day and can be
carried in a shoulder pack.
The closet things to
permanent artificial hearts on the market are
implanted machines called left-ventricular assist
devices (LVADs), which do the work of the left
ventricle, the heart chamber that works the
One type of LVAD is the
Heartmate. It is implanted in the abdomen and
connected to the natural heart via a short tube.
Power comes from a battery pack that is worn in a
shoulder bag and runs an electric motor. The
motor pushes a plate, the pushes the blood into