Bionic Heart Patch Replaces Need for Cardiac Transplants for Patients with Irreparable Heart Damage
Scientists at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have created a bionic heart patch by melding human tissue and pliant electronics held together using latest nanotechnology to be used as a high-tech Band-Aid placed over irreparably damaged cardiac tissue, either through myocardial infarction (heart attack) or heart disease. The inventors claim it’s even better than regular cardiac tissue as the heart patch can remotely monitor heart rate, regularity of electrical impulses, and release medication as needed. Due to the supple nature of the materials, the patch can expand and contract, just like a normal heart, and then some.
Utilizing advanced nanotech provided by TAU’s Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Lab, the scientists have developed a fully operational proxy, or replacement, tissue to replace completely traumatized tissue. Only, it’s intertwined with flexible electrical cords and embedded with sensors so that when a patient feels unwell while relaxing at home, the patient’s physician can remotely login to a computer and assess the situation in real time and adjust the patient’s electrical firing or authorize the release of medications stored in the heart patch’s electroactive polymer to help stabilize the patient—without the patient having to move a muscle.
In the United States, 25 percent of Americans are on the waiting list for a heart transplant. While improvements in technology have procured artificial hearts and veritable organs are being grown in petri dishes, it will still be several years before they appear on the market. With the heart patch, the need for transplants can be eliminated as the broken version—though not entirely mended—can be fully functional.
The scientists are looking to extend their application of the heart patch to the brain for irreversible neurological disorders. In the fashion of true artificial intelligence, they hope to upgrade the electronic sensors within the patch so that any irregularities, e.g. heart rate, high levels of inflammatory mediators detected, can be automatically rectified without the prompting of a physician or a technician.