Mechanical heart pump
There are currently over 5 million American suffering from heart failure or as is often called congestive heart failure. This is a progressive disease that reduces the oxygenated blood reaching body organs. The development of mechanical heart pumps has proved to be a powerful tool in curing or at least temporarily resolving this problem. Mechanical heart pump or an artificial heart is a device that temporarily replaces a heart when a heart transplantation is not possible or for the permanent replacement of a heart. The first artificial heart successfully transplanted in a human body is named Jarvik-7. It was developed in 1982 by a team including Willem Johan Kolff and Robert Jarvik. Artificial heart pump is just like a mechanical pump that produces the pumping phenomenon to circulate the blood in the whole body.
Pros and Cons of heart pumps
While a mechanical heart pump has many advantages, it also has some setbacks or disadvantages. Below briefly describes some of the pros and cons of a mechanical heart pump.
Using an artificial heart has the following advantages:
- An artificial heart pump provides a patient with a normal life just like before the heart transplant giving hope to the patient to continue living until a donor heart can be found.
- Tissue matching is the procedure that determines the type of histocompatibility antigens on a person’s cell or tissue. The is a very important stage and a prior procedure which is done before any transplant. However, in the case of the artificial heart, there is no need to match tissues.
- Artificial hearts are made up of plastics or metals so that the body’s immune system doesn’t reject them. So, there is no need to use immunosuppressive drugs.
- An artificial heart helps in vital organ recovery, raising blood pressure, and hemodynamic stability as much as in the preparation of a transplant. The patient can go home with a fully artificial heart and can spend time with his/her family.
Disadvantage or setbacks
As there are a lot of advantages in using an artificial heart but it also has some setbacks or disadvantages some of which are listed below.
- In planting an artificial heart, there is always the possibility that the surgery may lead to bleeding and infection for the patient.
- The artificial hearts can’t work so efficiently or healthy as the natural hearts can do; in addition, there is also the possibility that the electrical motor could fail.
- Since the blood can’t flow smoothly through the artificial heart, it may cause blood clotting and lead to stroke.
- Patients using mechanical heart pumps have to take medicines to thin their blood, and this may cause bleeding if they hurt in an accident.
Examples of artificial heart pumps
Below are some of the mechanical heart pumps created by the new technological equipment for congestive heart failure treatment.
SynCardia is the artificial heart that was initiated in 1993 and completed in 2002. It has two models 70cc and 50cc. Biventricular heart failure in adult men are treated with the 70cc model and in children and women are treated with the 50cc model.
The Carmat bioprosthetic heart was developed in October 2008 by the heart transplant specialist Alain F. Carpentier. This device has an electronic circuitry composed of sensors. It was made from chemically treated animal tissues called “biomaterial”.
O.H Frazier and William Cohn are the board of the BiVACOR company that produced an artificial heart that was implanted in 55 years old Craig Lewis at The Texas Heart Institute in Houston. This device is made up of the combination of two modified Heartmate II pumps.