What is Artificial Heart Technology? Mechanism,Procedure,Precautions

December 4, 2023 Full Body Check-up 51 Views


What is Artificial Heart Technology?

Artificial heart technology involves the development of mechanical devices designed to replace or assist the natural functions of the human heart. These devices, known as artificial hearts or ventricular assist devices (VADs), are used to pump blood and maintain circulation in individuals with heart failure or other cardiac issues. 

Artificial heart technology can serve as a temporary solution while waiting for a heart transplant or as a permanent option in some cases. Advances in this field aim to improve device efficiency, durability, and compatibility with the human body.

How do artificial hearts work?

Artificial heart technology works by pumping blood throughout the body to maintain circulation. There are different types of artificial hearts, but a common approach involves using a pump mechanism to mimic the heart’s pumping action. 

Here’s a simplified overview:

  • Blood Flow: The artificial heart is implanted in the chest, and the patient’s natural heart might be partially or completely replaced.
  • Pumping Mechanism: The pump in the artificial heart moves blood through the circulatory system. Some devices have one pump (total artificial heart), while others assist the natural heart by pumping blood from one chamber (ventricle) to another (ventricular assist device).
  • Power Source: Most artificial hearts are powered by external or internal batteries. External power sources often require a connection through the skin, while internal options may involve implanted batteries.
  • Control System: Sensors and a control system monitor the patient’s physiological signals, adjusting the pump’s speed to meet the body’s changing needs.

Artificial heart technology and devices are crucial for individuals with severe heart conditions, providing a lifeline while awaiting a heart transplant or serving as a long-term solution in some cases. ( Know more about- What is Heart Bypass Surgery? )

How is artificial heart surgery done?

Artificial heart surgery involves a complex procedure that typically includes the following steps:

  • Patient Preparation: The patient undergoes preoperative evaluation, including tests to assess overall health and suitability for the surgery.
  • Anesthesia: The patient is administered general anesthesia to ensure they are unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.
  • Incision: Surgeons make an incision in the chest to access the heart. The type of incision depends on the specific procedure and device being implanted.
  • Connection to the Circulatory System: The artificial heart is connected to the patient’s circulatory system. This may involve detaching the natural heart in the case of a total artificial heart or connecting the artificial heart to one ventricle in the case of a ventricular assist device.
  • Power Source Implantation: If the artificial heart requires an internal power source, surgeons implant the necessary components.
  • Monitoring and Testing: The surgical team monitors the patient’s vital signs and ensures the artificial heart is functioning properly. They may perform tests to confirm adequate blood flow.
  • Closure: Once everything is in place and functioning correctly, the surgical team closes the chest incision.

Recovery from artificial heart surgery and artificial heart technology varies depending on the patient’s overall health and the specific procedure performed. Postoperative care after artificial heart technology includes monitoring for complications, managing pain, and providing support for the patient’s recovery. Close follow-up and ongoing medical management are essential for individuals with artificial hearts. ( Know more about- What is Echocardiography? )

What precautions to be followed after artificial heart surgery?

After artificial heart surgery with artificial heart technology, patients typically need to follow specific precautions and guidelines to ensure a successful recovery. 

While individual recommendations may vary, common precautions include:

  • Medication Adherence: Take prescribed medications as directed, including anticoagulants, anti-rejection drugs (if applicable), and any other medications your healthcare team recommends.
  • Regular Medical Follow-ups: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare team. These visits allow for monitoring your recovery progress and addressing any concerns or complications promptly.
  • Activity Restrictions: Follow the activity restrictions provided by your healthcare team. Initially, there may be limitations on physical activities to allow the surgical site to heal.
  • Dietary Guidelines: Adhere to any dietary restrictions or guidelines provided by your healthcare team. Maintaining a heart-healthy diet is crucial for overall well-being.
  • Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated, as it supports the cardiovascular system and overall health. However, consult with your healthcare team about any specific fluid intake recommendations.
  • Infection Prevention: Take precautions to prevent infections. This may include proper wound care, hygiene practices, and avoiding exposure to sick individuals.
  • Device Monitoring: If you have an implanted artificial heart or ventricular assist device, be vigilant about monitoring its performance. Follow the guidelines for device care and contact your healthcare team if you notice any unusual symptoms.
  • Emotional Support: Seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups. Dealing with major surgery and lifestyle changes can be challenging, and having a support network is important.
  • Exercise and Rehabilitation: Gradually engage in approved physical activities and follow any rehabilitation exercises recommended by your healthcare team. Physical therapy may be part of your recovery plan.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Make necessary lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress, to support heart health. 

Are artificial hearts effective?

Artificial heart technology, including total artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices (VADs), can be highly effective in providing circulatory support for individuals with severe heart failure. Their effectiveness of artificial heart technology depends on the specific device, the patient’s condition, and how well the device is integrated into the patient’s cardiovascular system.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Bridge to Transplant: Many artificial hearts serve as a “bridge to transplant,” sustaining patients while they await a heart transplant. In this context, they are effective in maintaining blood circulation and supporting the patient’s overall health until a suitable donor heart becomes available.
  • Destination Therapy: In some cases, ventricular assist devices are used as a long-term solution, known as destination therapy. This approach is effective in improving the quality of life and survival for individuals who are not eligible for or decline heart transplantation.
  • Improved Survival Rates: Advances in artificial heart technology have led to improved survival rates and quality of life for patients with advanced heart failure.
  • Complications: Like any medical intervention, artificial hearts may have associated risks and complications. Infection, bleeding, device malfunction, and other issues can occur. However, advancements in device design and surgical techniques aim to minimize these risks.
  • Patient Selection: The success of artificial hearts also depends on appropriate patient selection. Not all individuals with heart failure are suitable candidates for these devices, and careful evaluation is crucial.

While artificial hearts and artificial heart technology have demonstrated effectiveness in extending and improving the lives of many patients, ongoing research and technological advancements aim to further enhance their performance, durability, and compatibility with the human body. Get full body checkups done to identify and treat various heart conditions and get artificial heart technology devices, if required. 

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