A silicone heart, created by a 3D printer, was found to function in fundamentally the same way as an actual human heart. Researchers at ETH Zürich made the heart and tested its performance on a hybrid mock circulation.
Although the heart worked in a similar fashion to a real human heart, the material could only withstand the strain of pumped circulation for roughly 3,000 beats, or for a period of 30 to 45 minutes.
“This was simply a feasibility test,” said Nicholas Cohrs, part of the research group who worked on the artificial heart. “Our goal was not to present a heart ready for implantation, but to think about a new direction for the development of artificial hearts.” Further tests would require the tensile strength of the material to be enhanced significantly.
Full findings from the heart experiment were published in the journal Artificial Organs.
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