Soft Robotic Sleeve Helps The Failing Heart Beat

Posted: Jan 19 2017, 6:54am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Soft Robotic Sleeve Helps the Failing Heart Beat
In vivo demonstration of cardiac assist in a porcine model of acute heart failure (Video courtesy of Ellen Roche/Harvard SEAS) Photo Credit: Ellen Roche/Harvard SEAS
 

Newly developed soft robot will enhance heart beat

Recently new soft robot developed by Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital researchers can help in heartbeat. The research opened new treatment methods for heart failures.

The soft robot fits around the heart and its sleeves get in synch with heart, enhancing cardiovascular functions that gets week by heart failure. This soft robot is different from traditional methods, as robot sleeve has no direct contact with the blood.

It reduces bloodclots; eventually the patient does not need any blood thinning drug. According to researchers the robot will be able to protect patient from heart transplant in future.

The research has opened doors for robotic technology to be used in the medical field, enhancing patients’ lifestyle, explained Ellen T. Roche, the paper's first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Roche is also presently a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Ireland.

Three teams collaborated in this research, including SEAS, the Wyss Institute and Boston Children's Hospital, and research study published in Science Translational Medicine.

The research proves that soft robot is safe and enhances cardiac function. The team is hopeful that such devices can help in mechanotherapy in the body, stated Conor Walsh, senior author of the paper and the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute.

According to a research 41 million people get heart failure, and they are treated with VADs that help in heart pumping, but the chances of blood clotting and stroke is still there.

Harvard researchers got inspiration from the heart itself while developing soft robot that does not contact with blood. The silicon sleeve of robot mimic hearts outer muscles, compressing the sleeve matching with heart beats.

Researchers say that they can develop soft robot sleeve according to every patient. The pressure of actuators can be adjustable according to patient’s heart if its too week or lesser week.

A suction device attaches the sleeve to the heart with the help of sutures and gel that prevents friction between the robot and the heart.

Surgeons from Boston Children's Hospital helped SEAS and Wyss engineers to develop this device, and also tested it on animal models.

However, to implant this device in humans, the research team needs to do more researches, but the first step is incredible.The device can protect several patients from heart failure, said Roche.

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