Liquid-Pumping Heart Replicas Could Lead To Better Cardiac Treatments

Before operating on someone, it would be very helpful if cardiac surgeons could examine a physical model of that specific individual’s heart.

Well, they should soon be able to do so – and the model will actually pump liquid, just like the patient’s real heart pumps blood.

Building upon previous research, an MIT/Harvard University team has developed a process that begins with multiple medical images of a patient’s heart being converted into a 3D computer model.

This causes the heart model to do likewise, except in reverse – it contracts when the bubbles expand and press in on it, then expands back to its original state when they contract.

In this manner, the model can pump a liquid used as a stand-in for actual blood.

Not only did those models accurately replicate the blood pressure and flow measured in the patients’ actual hearts, but they also responded in the same manner when fitted with synthetic valves similar to those which some of the patients received.