Nav: Home

Soft robots hug the heart to help pump blood

January 18, 2017

An implantable soft-robotic device could help failing hearts pump blood by giving the organ gentle squeezes, mimicking the natural motion of cardiac muscle, a new study reveals. The silicon-based device, which stiffens or relaxes when inflated with pressurized air, could prove to be a promising strategy for the development of assistive devices for heart failure - a serious condition afflicting 41 million people worldwide and over five million in the U.S., costing the nation an estimated $32 billion each year. While ventricular assist devices (VADs) are currently used as a life-prolonging therapy, they are in constant contact with the blood - increasing a patient's risk for infection, coagulation and stroke, and requiring the use of long-term blood-thinning medications. VADs also interfere with the normal curvature of the heart and its contraction mechanics. Seeking to pioneer a more effective device, Ellen Roche and colleagues developed a novel apparatus designed to augment cardiac function by closely replicating normal heart muscle behavior, instead of disrupting it. In ex vivo experiments, the device successfully conformed to porcine heart surfaces, synchronizing with native heart motion. It also restored normal blood flow after acute cardiac arrest in six living pigs. The researchers were able to "fine tune" the device by selectively twisting and compressing either the right or left ventricle of explanted pig hearts - a key finding, as chronic heart-failure often only affects a portion of the organ. With further investigation, the device could be tailored for individual patient needs, to better target cardiac rehabilitation or recovery. Additional work is needed to make this technology suitable for longer-term implantation in the body, the authors say.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Cardiac Muscle Articles:

Link between gut microbes & muscle growth suggests future approach to tackle muscle loss
Scientists led by NTU Singapore's Professor Sven Pettersson established a link between gut microbes and muscle growth and function -- a finding that could open new doors to interventions for age-related skeletal muscle loss.
Kaiser Permanente reduces secondary cardiac events through virtual cardiac rehabilitation program
Kaiser Permanente has demonstrated promising results in reducing secondary cardiac events and rehospitalizations by creating a virtual cardiac rehabilitation program that fits seamlessly into patients' lives.
A new way to wind the development clock of cardiac muscle cells
A study published in the journal Stem Cells describes a new and unexpected way to accelerate the maturation of induced pluripotent stem cells into cardiac muscle cells.
Home-based cardiac rehabilitation is an option to overcome barriers of traditional cardiac rehabilitation
Home-based cardiac rehabilitation may be an option for many who would benefit from cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or other heart procedure but can't attend medical center-based programs.
Chloride-channel in muscle cells provides new insights for muscle diseases
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have mapped the structure of an important channel in human muscle cells.
How do muscle and tendon connections last a lifetime?
Muscles are connected to tendons to power animal movements such as running, swimming or flying.
Oscillation in muscle tissue
When a muscle grows or a muscle injury heals, some of the stem cells develop into new muscle cells.
How diabetes causes muscle loss
Diabetes is associated with various health problems including decline in skeletal muscle mass.
Microscope measures muscle weakness
Biotechnologists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have developed a system to accurately measure muscle weakness caused by structural changes in muscle tissue.
Muscle-building proteins hold clues to ALS, muscle degeneration
Amyloid-like protein assemblies, long believed to be toxic and fuel diseases like ALS, have been found to play a key role in healthy muscle regeneration.
More Cardiac Muscle News and Cardiac Muscle Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.