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Engineers Design Bionic 'Heart' for Testing Prosthetic Valves, Other Cardiac Devices

By MIT News

February 6, 2020

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in collaboration with colleagues at the Nanyang Technology University in Singapore and other organizations, have built a "biorobotic hybrid heart" from heart tissue and a robotic pumping system for testing prosthetic valves and other cardiac devices.

A soft matrix of artificial heart muscles emulates the pattern of natural muscle fibers to mimic beating and pumping.

The researchers excised the left ventricle's outer cardiac tissue from a pig heart, and unwrapped it into a long, flat band. The researchers then assembled the muscle matrix from thin air tubes connected to inflatable bubbles oriented after diffusion tensor imaging of the two-dimensional muscular band.

Pumping air into the bubbles at frequencies resembling a naturally beating heart caused the biohybrid heart to contract in a manner comparable to actual heart mechanics.

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