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Heart-powered artificial Heart

Not quite as stupid as it sounds
(+1, -1)
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One of the main challenges of making an artificial heart is powering it. Current models need constant outside power, and even the best can run for only half an hour without a wearable battery pack. I propose an artificial heart with the mechanical pump powered by heart muscle taken from a pig. The pig tissue would be fed by sugars from the patient's own blood, which would pass through an osmotic membrane before and after entering the pig tissue which would prevent passage of anything larger than glucose, in order to prevent immune interaction between the pig and human tissue. The pig tissue would be entirely sealed except for these membranes.
quadmaster, Feb 06 2012

US 5814102 http://www.google.c...&dq=US5814102&hl=en
[xaviergisz, Feb 06 2012]


       Why a pig ?
FlyingToaster, Feb 06 2012

       //Not quite as stupid as it sounds// [Marked-For-Tagline]   

       You may find that (a) heart muscle needs to be supplied with substances bigger than glucose to survive in the longer term, and (b) it may be difficult to find a membrane //which would prevent passage of anything larger than glucose// but which would allow passage of glucose.   

       I realise that (a) and (b) partly cancel each other; still, that membrane may be your biggest hurdle.
spidermother, Feb 06 2012

       //Why a pig?// Pigs seem to be the standard model for xenotransplants, because they are similar to humans in structure and size. (Alternative answer: Why not a pig?)   

       It may turn out to be easier to grow some heart muscle from the patient's own stem cells.
spidermother, Feb 06 2012

       It helps that glucose is far smaller than even the tiniest protein. Most relatively small messenger chemicals- insulin, testosterone, the like- are interchangable among species as close as humans and pigs, that's why people with diabetes used to be treated with insulin taken from slaughtered farm animals.
quadmaster, Feb 06 2012

       From Wikipedia: "Dialysis tubing is permeable to glucose, but not to any starches or proteins"; it's also permeable to salts, so that part is solved. Oxygen may be a problem, unless you can keep some red blood cells circulating in there.
spidermother, Feb 06 2012

       Oh snap forgot about oxygen.   

       umm, umm, apply science?
quadmaster, Feb 06 2012

       Why don't you use the patient's own muscle? (see linked patent)
xaviergisz, Feb 06 2012

       Why not use the person's own diaphragm? It is always moving (as long as they are alive).
DIYMatt, Feb 06 2012

       Actually, [DIYMatt], that's not a bad idea either. A blood-pump powered by breathing...
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 06 2012

       This could explain my increased desire to hunt for truffles...
RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2012

       /A blood-pump powered by breathing.../   

       I think I have read about schemes to augment the heart by wrapping it in a latissimus dorsi muscle and triggering the lat to contract with a pacemaker device. The lat is more dispensible than the diaphragm.   

       Or maybe I dreamed that.   

       Re magic membranes: if you could put cells inside them and have them live in a little immune sanctuary they could do all sorts of wondrous things much beyond this.
bungston, Feb 06 2012

       /permeable to salts, so that part is solved/   

       Or dissolved as the case may be.
bungston, Feb 06 2012

       Atrial natriuretic peptide?
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2012

       Next up, wheelchairs powered by legs, homes heated by setting them afire, and plants that grow like weeds...
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2012


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