Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Device Could Put The Beat Back Into Weak Hearts, And Free Patients From Antirejection Drugs

Date:
February 18, 2008
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
A new device could put the beat back into weak hearts -- and free patients from a lifetime of antirejection drugs. Current implanted heart assist devices function by sucking blood from the ventricles and then expelling it into downstream vessels. While these have been successful in prolonging the lives of heart patients, they come into contact with the blood stream and hence require life-long drug therapy to suppress the immune system and prevent blood clotting. A new device provides a less invasive alternative.

PhD student David Keeling with the web material that will be used in the development of the heart assist device.
Credit: Simon & Simon Photography

A new device could put the beat back into weak hearts - and free patients from a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. Current implanted heart assist devices function by sucking blood from the ventricles and then expelling it into downstream vessels. Whilst these have been successful in prolonging the lives of heart patients, they come into contact with the blood stream and hence require life-long drug therapy to suppress the immune system and prevent blood clotting. In addition, many of these devices use high speed turbines to produce the pumping force, and this has been proven to cause damage to cells within the blood increasing the chance of clots forming.

Related Articles


The ingenious device being developed by engineers at the University of Leeds provides a less invasive alternative. The team has developed a specially-woven web made from biocompatible material which will not be rejected by the body.

The webbing wraps around the heart and therefore does not come into contact with the blood stream. Inbuilt sensors recognise when the heart wants to beat and trigger a series of miniature motors which cause the web to contract -- increasing the internal pressure and assisting the heart to pump the blood around the body.

The team consists of Drs Peter Walker (who devised the original concept) and Martin Levesley from the University's School of Mechanical Engineering, cardiac consultants Kevin Watterson and Osama Jaber from Leeds General Infirmary and engineering PhD student David Keeling.

"It's a really simple concept that works in the same way as when you squeeze a plastic bottle, forcing the liquid inside to rise," says PhD student David Keeling who has built a special rig to test the device.

The device is currently at prototype stage with team using a computer simulated model of the human blood flow circuit coupled to David's mechanical rig. The rig replicates the motion of the heart within the simulation under different conditions, and allows the team to test their web device. The group is currently testing their latest prototype, aiming to refine design and assist strategies. Says David: "We've been looking at finding the optimum timing to trigger and also length of the compressive squeeze."

Once the mechanics have been perfected, the team intends to simulate the effects of different heart diseases to gauge the potential success of the device.

Potential uses for the device are huge. As well as offering support to people suffering from heart and valve problems, the device could also be a bridging aid to patients as they wait for transplants, providing them with a better quality of life.

Says David: "Recent research has found that with some heart diseases, supporting the heart for a short period with an assistive device reduces the work-load on the heart and allows it to rest and recover. Our device also allows for a controlled relaxation of the heart muscle after contraction, which means that it's being supported throughout the whole heartbeat process. It's the same as when you pull a muscle in any other part of your body, rest can often be the best therapy."

The research has been funded by Leeds-based medical charity Heart Research UK.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "New Device Could Put The Beat Back Into Weak Hearts, And Free Patients From Antirejection Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214093128.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2008, February 18). New Device Could Put The Beat Back Into Weak Hearts, And Free Patients From Antirejection Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214093128.htm
University of Leeds. "New Device Could Put The Beat Back Into Weak Hearts, And Free Patients From Antirejection Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214093128.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins