Artificial mechanical organs — perhaps the most realistic way to fix the order of today wear and tear the body, which will not help traditional therapeutic "repair". As other methods, organ transplant donor shortage complicated and biological incompatibility. A stem cells, which are so much talk, unfortunately, are too far removed from practical application.
The first artificial organs, apparently, is considered as dentures. Later, surgeons have implanted metal joints and ligaments, and then appeared and electronic prosthetic limbs. But to call these devices "a revolution in artificial organs" may be a stretch. Of course, they improve the quality of life, but can live without them. To create such devices importantly — to find a durable, lightweight and safe material, make him a necessary detail and to develop the technology of "installation" in the human body.
Another thing — our internal organs. Millions of people die each year from severe diseases of the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, and help them often there is no way. Almost all of the invented devices for life support — artificial lung, liver or kidney disease — take place not less than the refrigerator and are considered only as a temporary measure. Typically, the patient is constantly around a machine body and waits for transplantation. But to find a suitable donor can not always.
But all is not hopeless. The most "simple" of these organs is the heart. Back in 1938 the first American surgeons used a heart-lung machine. Not so long ago it was created artificial heart AbioCor, which allows a person to not just "live out", and walk and play sports. And the latest development — the Australian unit VentrAssist — all must work 50 years. But this unit we will tell later, because its characteristics will look too dull without theoretical introduction.
Parameters of the artificial body
Ideal artificial organs — is the machine that will work for decades under a heavy load and do not require
Artificial light — no less difficult. The surface of the "original" of the respiratory organs is approximately equal to the tennis court. In one minute on it twenty times evenly, "bottled" and removed a glass of blood. In addition, the continuously self-cleaning is easy with soot, dust and other harmful particles that we breathe. If we add that this Authority by volumeshould exceed five liters, it becomes clear that the work on this machine is far from over.
Liver — is also quite small body, which fits the "chemical factory" and a powerful filtering system. Only one minute passes through it and a half liters of blood that needs to be cleaned of waste products without violating the electrolyte, hormonal and protein balance. Many substances, such as — alcohol, drugs, fats, not just linger in the liver, but also processed into a form most convenient for removal from the body. In addition, this body is responsible for the synthesis of a liter of bile — Agro-Food fat emulsifier.
Another Authority, without which people can not live — it's a kidney. The device and its replacement should, as the liver, the blood filter body. But the renal function does not end its biological "computer", and analyzes the blood on the basis of these data support a very narrow range of the content of virtually all the dissolved substances.
Now that we have assessed the extent of the problem, let's see how it can be solved with regard to heart. The device AbioCor Denver company Abiomed — it is a real artificial heart, which replaces both the ventricle and provides blood flow to the lungs and other organs. The device the size of a grapefruit and weighs 900 grams are titanium pump, control unit and battery. Its capacity is enough for 30 minutes of battery life, and charging takes place through the skin: that is, on the surface of the body does not leave any wires. External battery worn on the belt, allowing you to stay a few hours on a single charge.
Such apparatus is suitable for patients with end-stage heart failure, and poor prognosis. Moreover, the makers of the device claim that it allows patients to not just "live out", but guarantees them is an acceptable quality of life.
The first AbioCor heart was transplanted in 2001. Since there were determined no more than 20 units, but the prospects of viewing apparatus optimistic estimate market 100,000 procedures per year.
Pump 50 years
The device VentrAssist, created by Australian researchers, in contrast to the heart AbioCor, can not completely replace the natural organ. VentrAssist only helps pump blood from the left ventricle — the most loaded with the heart.
Inside the body is placed only titanium rotary pump. His life Australians assessed as 50 years of continuous operation. The controller and the battery capacity which is enough for 8 hours, the patient wears on a belt.
For design, this device should help many people with heart failure. However, in clinical practice it will appear only after the permission of the licensing bodies.
If life road …
AbioCor heart is now worth slightly less than $ 100 thousand, VentrAssist will cost around 50. However, the price is significantly less than the costs associated with each donor heart transplant.
If we take into account the money that goes to medical care of patients with heart failure, it becomes clear: the artificial heart is not only useful, but also beneficial to the medical industry. And financial incentives, as we know — is the strongest. Including advances in technology.
It remains only to clarify that support this progress with my life completely optional. With timely prevention of heart disease your own heart will last much longer than 50 years. And most importantly, virtually free.