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Jul 17, 2017 01:27 PM IST | Source:

Scientists 3D print a silicone heart which beats like a real one

However, this heart can now beat up to 3000 beats, or 45 minutes. The material used in the heart collapses after that due to strain.

Resarch team at ETH Zurich create artificial heart using 3-D print technology.
Resarch team at ETH Zurich create artificial heart using 3-D print technology.


Marking a leap in the science of prosthetics, researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have developed a functional human heart made of silicone.

However, the silicone heart is still years away to match up to the human heart. The silicone heart can beat up to 3,000 beats or 45 minutes as of now. After 45 minutes, the material used in the heart collapses due to excessive strain. The research team is working to enhance the strength of the material.

“Our goal is to develop an artificial heart that is roughly the same size as the patient’s own one and which imitates the human heart as closely as possible in form and function,” adds Cohrs.

The artificial heart has been developed after using a 3D-printing process called lost-wax casting by the research team of Functional Materials Laboratory of the Institute situated in Switzerland.

Watch|| Testing of the soft artificial heart

This silicone heart has two ventricles just like a normal human heart, however, instead of being separated by a septum an additional chamber was used. This chamber helps in pumping blood through inflation and deflation by pressurised air and thus mimics the contraction of the human heart.

“This was simply a feasibility test. Our goal was not to present a heart ready for implantation but to think about a new direction for the development of artificial hearts,” said Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student from the team.

The development can be a new ray of hope for 26 million people worldwide who suffer from heart failure. The artificial heart can be used as a replacement for the ill-functioning heart until a donor is found.
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