A non-beating, non-pumping machine developed by Texas Heart Institute researchers could save the lives of heart patients. This device functions like a heart.
According to the researchers, although such a device would leave a person without a pulse, it could work better than pumping devices, thereby prolonging the patient's life.
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The machine that delivers blood through the body with the use of simple whirling rotors was tested on an 8-month-old calf.
The team removed the calf's heart and replaced it with two centrifugal pumps that 'spin' blood throughout the animal's body.
"If you listened to her chest with a stethoscope, you wouldn't hear a heartbeat," the Discovery News quoted Billy Cohn, of Texas Heart Institute as saying.
"If you examined her arteries, there's no pulse. If you hooked her up to an EKG, she'd be flat-lined," he added.
After practicing on 38 calves, the team tried the device on a 55-year-old human patient, who was dying from amyloidosis, a disease that causes buildup of abnormal proteins that clog the organs until they stop functioning.
Though, the patient died after a month of getting the implant due to the underlying disease attacking his kidneys and liver, doctors said that the pumps had performed flawlessly.
They added that continuous-flow pumps could last longer than other artificial hearts and cause fewer problems because each side has just one moving part: the constantly whirling rotor.
"These pumps don't wear out. We haven't pumped one to failure to date," said Bud Frazier, from Texas Heart Institute.