Artificial Heart – Parts 4,5, and 6

A series of videos which talks about the Total Artificial Heart and the role it plays in therapy for patients waiting for heart transplant.

  1. Artificial Heart Videos Parts 1, 2 and 3
  2. Artificial Heart Videos Parts 4, 5 and 6 (current post)
  3. Artificial Heart Videos Parts 7, 8 and 9
  4. Artificial Heart Videos parts 10, 11 and 12

These videos have been provided to by (Peter Crown, Ph.D, Virtual Clinic Research Center) and the Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance, University of Arizona, College of Medicine.

4. What is the path of blood flow through the body?

Thinking about the CardioWest, we definitely need to think about the blood flow, and in thinking about the artificial heart, what we mean by blood flow. The simplest way to think about the blood flow is a series. In term of series we have blood coming into the right side of the device where there is a valve. The right side then pumps an amount of pressure that goes out and overcomes the pressure of the lungs so the blood flows through the lungs and into the left side of the device, here again we have a valve going in and a valve going out that pumps and provides enough pressure to overcome the pressure of the body and then the blood goes through and then we continue the series circuit of blood flow.

5. How is the total Artificial Heart implanted?

I have a picture of another device here next to the CardioWest to illustrate that it truely is a total heart replacement. Just looking at the two pictures you can see the difference and the difference is that here with this type of device this is truly an assist device; it’s assisting the native heart so this patient will still have the native heart. Versus, the total artificial heart where the native heart is removed and the total artificial heart is implanted. Now as you see here would be exit sites from the body, so these are the pneumatic airlines that we will be talking about later which is providing the driving pressure needed so that the heart pumps. You can see how its connected, the right side would come in, again just as we were talking about the blood flow would come into the device and then there would be pneumatic or air pressure and that would be provide the pressure needed to overcome the pressure of the lungs and the body to keep that circuit going.

6. How does the CardioWest Artificial Heart work?

Now that we know how a CardioWest is implanted, we can think about how it works. So we are going to assume that it is in the body and think about how it functions. So i am going to turn on the device, which is the driving unit, which we will talk more about later, and it’s going to start pumping. The device is now pumping and what you are looking at here is an internal diaphragm in the device on both the sides. So as i compress this i can push my finger down on the diaphragm and it pumps back up against my finger. The purpose of this diaphragm is to separate the air flow from the blood flow. So we need the air and the pressure to push against the lungs and push against the pressure of the body. We also need this diaphragm here so that there is no interaction between the body’s blood and the air so as to not to promote any type of infection.

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