Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Web will work wonders for the faint hearted

A new device could put the beat back into weak hearts - and free patients from a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs

Current implanted heart assist devices function by sucking blood from the ventricles and then expelling it into downstream vessels. Whilst these have been successful in prolonging the lives of heart patients, they come into contact with the blood stream and hence require life-long drug therapy to suppress the immune system and prevent blood clotting. In addition, many of these devices use high speed turbines to produce the pumping force, and this has been proven to cause damage to cells within the blood increasing the chance of clots forming.

The ingenious device being developed by engineers at the University of Leeds provides a less invasive alternative. The team has developed a specially-woven web made from biocompatible material which will not be rejected by the body.

The webbing wraps around the heart and therefore does not come into contact with the blood stream. Inbuilt sensors recognise when the heart wants to beat and trigger a series of miniature motors which cause the web to contract – increasing the internal pressure and assisting the heart to pump the blood around the body.

The team consists of Drs Peter Walker (who devised the original concept) and Martin Levesley from the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering, cardiac consultants Kevin Watterson and Osama Jaber from Leeds General Infirmary and engineering PhD student David Keeling. The research has been funded by Leeds-based medical charity Heart Research UK.

“It’s a really simple concept that works in the same way as when you squeeze a plastic bottle, forcing the liquid inside to rise,” says PhD student David Keeling who has built a special rig to test the device.

The device is currently at prototype stage with team using a computer simulated model of the human blood flow circuit coupled to David’s mechanical rig. The rig replicates the motion of the heart within the simulation under different conditions, and allows the team to test their web device. The group is currently testing their latest prototype, aiming to refine design and assist strategies. Says David: “We’ve been looking at finding the optimum timing to trigger and also length of the compressive squeeze.”

Once the mechanics have been perfected, the team intends to simulate the effects of different heart diseases to gauge the potential success of the device.

Potential uses for the device are huge. As well as offering support to people suffering from heart and valve problems, the device could also be a bridging aid to patients as they wait for transplants, providing them with a better quality of life. Says David: “Recent research has found that with some heart diseases, supporting the heart for a short period with an assistive device reduces the work-load on the heart and allows it to rest and recover. Our device also allows for a controlled relaxation of the heart muscle after contraction, which means that it’s being supported throughout the whole heartbeat process. It’s the same as when you pull a muscle in any other part of your body, rest can often be the best therapy.”

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>