COUNCIL CHRONICLE – Researchers introduced a new robot that can help hearts pump blood. The device was presented in a new paper released in the journal Science Robotics. Scientists mentioned that this new robot cradles the heart and that it uses a probe to anchor the wall that separates the lower chambers of the heart. It is also capable of manipulating just a particular chamber.
The New Robot and its Use in Cardiology
Its developers stated that this device could help the heart function optimally without needing a transplant. Nowadays, doctors can use a ventricular assist device that assists the heart in pumping normally. This is an external device that helps blood circulate when the heart fails to do it on its own. There is a problem as, for the devices to work and the blood to flow, patients need to take blood thinners.
In comparison, this new robot works into the heart and encourages the normal functioning of the organ. The flesh is not irritated by the device because it is soft and it conforms to the organ. The robotic assistance is also activated pneumatically. This way, the heart is manipulated in a gentler way.
The other part of the robot enters the heart and gets anchored to the walls that separate the ventricles and ensures the robot’s efficiency. Without it, the heart won’t be able to replicate regular heartbeats.
When presenting the device, the scientists attached it to a pig’s heart. For the new robot to be taken into consideration and approved by doctors, researchers need to use it on an animal for several months. This way, they can demonstrate that the robot is functional and that it can help people as well. If this device is going to be approved, a lot of people might stop needing a transplant.
“We’ve combined rigid bracing with soft robotic actuators to gently but sturdily help a diseased heart chamber pump blood effectively,” states Nikolay Vasilyev, a cardiac surgeon involved with the study.
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