Science

This bionic heart uses maglev tech to pump blood

A team of engineers from private medical company Bivacor have built a bionic heart, a product which has borne fruit out of their assiduous work since 2001, which could provide a new lease of life for cardiac patients, according to a recent IEEE Spectrum report written by them.

This apparatus exploits the power of magnetic levitation, currently used by high speed trains, to pump oxygenated blood from the heart to the various parts of the body and getting deoxygenated blood from the body back to the lungs, made possible by spinning a disk at great speeds.

This futuristic apparatus is not designed as a permanent ersatz to the biological heart, however aims to keep the patients alive until they get a suitable donor.

The device is a compact one, weighing a mere 650 grams and boasts of an external controller operated by batteries and hence not encumbering those who wear them.

Instead of exactly mimicking the mechanism of the human heart by incorporating valves, auricles and ventricles, it uses a centrifugal pump that levitates magnetically to provide the body with a continuous supply of blood.

Lo and behold, those wearing the device would not have any pulse that could be measured. Mary Shelley would be smug with a sense of deep gratification at her prescient idea.

Bivacor and the surgeons at the Texas Heart Institute conducted animal trials with a brown bovine in April to test the efficacy of the new device and the results looked promising as the cow stayed healthy and was full of vigor and even jogged on a treadmill for 30 minute periods throughout the 990 day trial period, IEEE Spectrum report noted.

Bivacor is going to submit a grant with the US Food and Drug Administration requesting for human trials in 2020.

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