The Route to a Bionic Human Heart - How far are we and how far can we go?
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Diseases targeting the heart or vascular system of the human body are very common. Specifically, heart failure and heart attacks are the leading causes of death around the world. A human heart that is at the end of treatments becomes eligible for a real heart transplantation. This implies the replacing of the failing heart with a healthy donor that just passed away. These surgeries are not happening regularly and cost a lot of time and money. Due to the key function of the heart in the body are the possible diseases and other complains quite extensive. For example coronary artery diseases (when the blood vessels of the heart itself are being affected. Also, arrhythmia’s and valve diseases are common. The discipline of biomimicry/biomimetics is asked for advice about a successful artificial human heart, also called a bionic heart. Every element of the heart could theoretically have a biomimetic alternative. A total artificial heart is a mechanical device that is powered by an external battery pack that the patient must carry with at all the times and mimics the function of a natural heart by pumping blood through the body. This raises an ethical debate about the limitations of technology in healthcare. Nevertheless, very promising is the device of BiVACOR, an Australian company that is developing a bionic heart. However, it appears that mimicking a multifunctional and complex tissue is still very challenging and will need more research and development. While a bionic heart cannot fully replicate all the functions of a healthy human heart, it can offer a promising treatment option for patients with severe heart disease, helping to improve their quality of life and overall cardiovascular function until a real donor heart becomes available. Because a natural heart still remains the best option for transplantation.
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