Wednesday 21 February 2018

Scientists create foam heart which 'be a viable replacement for a human heart'

The artificial organ is made from foam. Photo: Cornell University
The artificial organ is made from foam. Photo: Cornell University
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Scientists in the US have created an artificial heart made out of foam which could be better at pumping blood around the body than existing devices.

Typical artificial hearts are solid blocks of technology, but the new foam-like device is made of a stretchy, lightweight material which can be moulded into any shape, and has connected pores that allow fluids to be pumped through it.

The polymer foam starts out as a liquid and can be poured into a mould to create a range of shapes, so it can be customised for each patient.

The elastomer foam can also change its length by up to 300pc.

Mechanical and aerospace engineers from Cornell University used the foam to design the artificial heart, with carbon fibre used in the outer shell.

The researchers are now working with medical researchers to make their hearts compatible for humans so that they can be used as replacement organs.

Assistant professor Rob Shepherd  said: "We believe it has the potential, after further development, to be a viable replacement for a heart."

The material could also be used to make prosthetic hands, he said.

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