Custom-made robotic hearts beat true

To mimic the heart’s pumping action, the team fabricated sleeves similar to blood pressure cuffs that wrap around a printed heart. The underlying of each sleeve resembles precisely patterned bubble wrap. When the sleeve is connected to a pneumatic system, researchers can tu ne the airflow to Rhythmically inflate the sleeve’s bubbles and contract the heart, replicating the patient’s blood-pumping ability.

“We’re not only printing the heart’s anatomy, but also replicating its mechanics and physiology,” says mechanical engineering professor Ellen Roche, who led a team developing a “biorobotic hybrid heart”—a general replica made from synthetic muscle that could be controlled to mimic heartbeats—in January 2020. “That’s the part that we get excited about.”

The Researchers Can Also Inflated A Section Sleeve Surrowing A Printed Aorta to Constrict The Vessel. This Construction, they Say, Can Be Tunes to Mimic Aortic Stenos IS -A Condition in Which the Aortic Valve Narrows, Causion The Heart to Work Harder to Force Blood Through the body.

Doctors commonly treat aortic stenosis by surgically implanting a synthetic valve designed to widen the natural one. In the future, the team says, doctors could potentially implant a variety of valves into a printed model of the heart and aorta to see which design results in the best function and fit. The heart replicas could also be used by research labs and medical-device manufacturers as realistic platforms to test therapies for various types of heart disease.

“All hearts are different,” says Luca Rosalia, a graduate student in the MIT-Harvard Program in Health Sciences and Technology and a coauthor of a paper on the work, who re-created the lab’s setup in his dorm room to continue tweaking the design during the covid-19 shutdown. “There are massive variations, especially when patients are sick.”

Ultimately, Roche says, the replicas could help develop and identify ideal treatments for individuals with especially distinctive cardiac anatomy, which often develops as hearts and blood vessels work to overcome compromised function.

“Designing inclusively for a large range of anatomies, and testing interventions across this range, may increase the addressable target population for minimally invasive procedures,” she says.

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