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First artificial heart programme launched

Our Bureau

Electronic devices developed by medical scientists would act as a bridge to heart transplants, and keep the patient alive until a heart becomes available.

Bangalore , Sept. 4

MANIPAL Heart Foundation on Thursday announced the launch of the country's first artificial heart programme.

The Foundation will provide immediate succour by way of artificial heart for patients in dire need of a temporary heart for treatment of their ailment.

Electronic devices developed by medical scientists would act as a bridge to heart transplants, and keep the patient alive until a heart becomes available. The use of an artificial heart is temporary.

Earlier, Dr James Long, Director - Utah Artificial Heart Programme, and a pioneer of clinical technologies met cardio thoracic surgeons and cardiologists at the Heart Foundation and exchanged views on the protocols developed by the hospital.

The artificial heart is a device designed to function like a natural heart. It has two pumps (like the ventricles of the heart), each with a disk-shaped mechanism that pushes blood from the inlet valve to the outlet valve. The action inside the artificial heart is entirely similar to the actions of the natural heart. There is, however, one huge difference: the natural heart is living muscle, while the artificial heart is made of titanium, medical polymers and dacron polyester. As a result, the artificial heart needs external source of `life' or a power, like a battery. Artificial heart pumps are very sophisticated implantable medical devices designed so that a patient can remain mobile and continue a productive lifestyle.

The foundation first equipped itself with infrastructure by installing two Innova machines last year - South India's first modern digital catheterisation labs. The collective experience of the cardio thoracic surgery team at the Manipal Heart Foundation includes scores of heart transplants in countries such as the UK, the US, Canada and Sweden besides artificial heart implants.

The artificial heart is intended for use in patients whose hearts have irreparably damaged left and/or right ventricles, and for whom existing methods of surgical intervention and/or drug therapy are inadequate.

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