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Heart Repump

External pumping of failed heart
  (+8, -4)
(+8, -4)
  [vote for,

When the heart really gives in and can't be stimulated to pump, if you are lucky enough to be well insured or live in a country which cares about you, you'll be offered an artificial heart. This is basically an electric pump which gets plumbed into your existing vasculature.

Problems abound, particularly regarding rejection and clot forming. The things calcify, clog and generally don't do too well. To be fair, they keep you alive, so all is not lost.

This idea is to take your original heart, leave it in place, not sever the arteries, give it a bit of a clean if required, strip back any excessive gristle and then construct a chamber around it. The non-heart section of the chamber is connected to a drive line in the same way as an artificial heart, providing the same kind of pulsating pressure which will force the heart to expand and contract within its chamber.

Because we've not connected new devices, surfaces etc. and we're using well optimised haemodynamic surfaces we will disturb the flow much less in this way. People will live longer safer and happier lives with fewer drugs.

vincevincevince, Dec 01 2007

Ventricular Assist Device http://en.wikipedia...cular_assist_device
When your heart's only half-bad. [Spacecoyote, Dec 01 2007]

Dynamic Cardiomyoplasty http://heart.bmj.co...nt/extract/82/3/263
[reensure, Dec 07 2007]

2-Stage Dynamic Cardiomyoplasty http://www.freepate...ne.com/5603337.html
[reensure, Dec 07 2007]


       If it encases the heart, where will you put the motor?   

       Also the motor would have to be specially designed for the human body, but that's already baked with existing artificial hearts.   

       Another possibility is a jacket (worn externally) which compresses and releases the area in simulation of heartbeat.
Spacecoyote, Dec 01 2007

       There are some similarities functionally to a VAD. The motor can be external, we're pressurising the part of the container outside the heart and depressurising it. This takes over the entire functionality of the heart, just as with an artificial heart, and targets the same patients. The difference essentially is that instead of an artificial pumping chamber connected to the vasculature, the heart itself is used.
vincevincevince, Dec 01 2007

       You know, Vincevincevince, that's not such a stupid idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 01 2007

       So you'd 'bag' certain outer sections of the heart and pulsatively pressurize them? That's an interesting one. Would the heart respond okay to being externally squeezed, or would it damage the tissue I wonder?
RayfordSteele, Dec 02 2007

       Really not a bad idea, and I love the word "vasculature" !
batou, Dec 03 2007

       I wonder if the rhythmic massage directly on the heart would do something to reduce/open cardiac blood vessels? [+]
elhigh, Dec 04 2007

       Is the idea sort of a "pressure bag" around the heart, which can be pressurized to compress the heart, and then depressurized to allow it to expand again? If so, it doesn't seem likely that it would do much harm to the heart. I think this is an ingenious idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 04 2007

       Remember that there are multiple chambers in the heart, and you've got to get your compression strokes & valve timing properly organized. How do you propose to bag the heart so that the left atrium gets compressed before the left ventricle?
lurch, Dec 05 2007

       You can get away without an atrium - to be honest, it's a bit of a nicety. That's why cardiac massage works.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 05 2007

       //You can get away without an atrium - to be honest, it's a bit of a nicety.//   

       I disagree. My first council house had its own atrium, and I immediately considered it essential. Now, every time I'm offered a council house, I turn it down due to the fact that it doesn't have an atrium. I'm currently homeless.
jtp, Dec 05 2007

       Ah yes, but did it contract rhythmically? I'm pretty sure mine doesn't - at least the one in the North Wing. I'll ask Fothergill to check the others.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 05 2007

       He says he doesn't recall any of the atria contracting, but he's going to check with Cook in the morning. I sympathise with your homeless predicament - I was in the same position last year. Had to live in the bloody hunting lodge while they renovated the panelling. It's no fun trying to manage in a twelve-up, twelve-down - we were practically tripping over the staff half the time.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 05 2007

       VinceVinceVince - this is a very innovative / original idea. From my (very basic) understanding of the difficulties of making an artificial heart they have difficulties with: cloting (which would be largely solved by your idea I would think); hemolysis (also solved); fitting the device into the anatomical space available; powering the device; the device wearing out / reliability; heat dissipation and infection (if the device has tubes or wires which exit the body.   

       From the above list there are still a number of hurdles which this device may need to overcome, however I am wondering if it could be used as an adjunct for a weakly beating heart (ie cardiomyopathy), to increase the power of each 'beat'.   

       Also I am thinking it could squeeze the heart by using a memory metal muscle.
Brett-Blob, Dec 07 2007

       You SOB, thats MY IDEA! Anyway, its a great, who cares who came up with it first (ME! :) This is basicly like implanted permenent cardiac massage, the device would be placed around the heart, using computer control to pump the heart with, as brett-blob said, memory metal, and powered by a nuclear/recharageable battery placed in the open area left by removal of the spleen, no fuss, no muss, no clots! Ok so can we share the Nobel Prize? ;)
Hirudinea, Jun 05 2009


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