A beating biorobotic heart is designed to better simulate valves.


By fusing a silicone robotic pump with a biological heart, scientists constructed a biorobotic heart. This biorobotic mimics the heart’s beating pattern, with particular attention to the left ventricle.

A ‘Biorobotic Heart’

The heart valve simulator, published in the journal Device, can mimic the structure, function, and motion of a healthy or diseased heart. It enables surgeons and researchers to demonstrate interventions in real time.

According to Senior author and Biomedical engineer Ellen Roche,

The simulator has a huge benefit as a research tool for those who study different heart valve conditions and interventions.

Novel therapies are first tested in animal models and heart simulators before being made available for humans. Present-day cardiac simulators, however, only last two to four hours and fail to fully replicate the intricacy of a real heart. Research on animals can be costly and time-consuming, and the results may not necessarily apply to people. Artificial hearts fill these gaps, which is a less costly approach with a few months’ shelf life.

Researchers studied mitral regurgitation, a heart disorder affecting 24.2 million people worldwide, causing shortness of breath, swelling, and heart failure due to a leaky valve.

The complexity of the valve’s construction makes surgery to treat the condition extremely difficult. It emphasizes the necessity for precise surgical techniques and efficient technology.

However, to better understand the functionality of the mitral valve, researchers created a biorobotic heart using a pig heart. By replacing the heart muscle with a silicone-made pump system. The system simulates the beat of a biological heart.

A team damaged the biorobotic heart’s mitral valve, revealing leaky characteristics. Cardiac surgeons corrected the damage using artificial chords, prosthetic valves, and a valve leaflet closure device. The system restored normal pressure, flow, and heart function, allowing real-time data collection and compatibility with current imaging technologies.

According to Roche,

Our biorobotic heart may help improve the device design cycle, allow rapid iterations, get things approved by regulatory bodies,

Expediting and improving these processes will ultimately benefit patients.”


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