A machine to fly the artificial heart

North Carolina, United States - Until now, most medical devices used in cardiac surgery were tested directly on the heart of live pigs, because the animal has valves similar to those of humans. Today, researchers can use a machine to make economic beating heart of an animal as if he was alive.

The "Dynamic heart system" works from a heart taken from a dead animal, which is réimpulse fluids under pressure. This new device allows scientists to test the techniques and tools to develop their hearts on "functional" before reaching the stage of testing in vivo. In addition, the organs used are a by-product of the pig industry and thus reduce the experiments on live animals.

The computer-controlled machine allows researchers to capture the inner workings of the pump of the heart. They can assess what techniques are best to treat the valves of the heart muscle. This amounts to 100 times cheaper to use this machine rather than a live pig. "It costs about $ 25 to conduct an experiment on this machine, while a similar experiment on a live pig costs about U.S. $ 2 500," said Andrew Richards of the University of North Carolina.

"There will always be a need for tests on live animals," says project director, Greg Buckner, "but it creates an intermediary stage of tests that did not exist before. This allows researchers to assess the feasibility of the concept and improve it. "

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