Robotics: a new device will help keep hearts pumping
2 December 2017 | Written by La redazione
Researchers introduced a new kind of device to keep a heart pumping: It cradles the organ and uses a probe to anchor to the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. The robot can precisely manipulate a particular chamber, and that could lead to devices that let doctors assist a heart in its normal function instead of relying on a transplant. These days, doctors keep a heart pumping blood with something called a ventricular assist device. This is a pump external to the body that helps ferry blood around when the heart just can’t manage on its own. Problem is, because blood is flowing through machinery, the patient has to take blood thinners to make sure the works don’t get gummed up. And doctors don’t like putting people on blood thinners if they can avoid it. This new robot is incorporated right into the heart, and acts to encourage the organ’s normal function. The bit that rests on the heart is a soft robot made of polymers, meaning it’s, well, soft, so it better conforms to the organ and doesn’t irritate the flesh.