Pneumatic total artificial hearts, although demonstrating utility as temporary mechanical circulatory support devices, have not demonstrated a great deal of promise as permanent cardiac replacements. The increasing number of patients who would be candidates for total heart replacement suggests a large role for a permanent implantable total artificial heart. To that end, the Pennsylvania State University is developing an electric motordriven total artificial heart; the results with implants in calves are encouraging. In this device, a roller-screw mechanism is used to translate the rotation of a brushless direct-current motor into rectilinear motion of a pusherplate assembly, which in turn empties the blood sacs. The total artificial heart of the future will function under automatic control without percutaneous leads, and this should provide the patient with a nearly normal lifestyle. Although further experimental efforts are necessary to prepare the device for clinical trials, the technology to provide a safe and reliable electric blood-pump system is at hand.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine