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Space technology modifies China-made artificial hearts

By Gao Yinan (People's Daily Online)    08:50, September 09, 2015

(Photo/People's Daily Online)

Chinese researchers have used aerospace technology to design and produce an artificial heart.

The artificial heart is actually an implantable ventricular assist device (VAD), a mechanical pump used to support heart function and blood flow in people with weakened hearts.

It is recognized worldwide as the most effective treatment for various types of end-stage heart failure. However, China has no commercialization of such medical devices yet.

Although there have been "artificial hearts" on markets abroad, the high price of up to 1 million yuan is unaffordable for many HF patients in China.

Chinese scientists used magnetic suspension and hydrodynamic bearings -- both examples of aerospace technology to develop the ventricular assist device to be fitted with a battery and controller.

In an animal experiment, which is similar to a clinical implantation, a sheep, nicknamed "Tianjiu-1," has lived for 120 days, breaking the longest survival record, after it was implanted an "artificial heart" developed by Chinese scientists using cutting-edge aerospace technology.

The development of the heart was jointly conducted for more than six years by scientists from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

For the next step, the researchers will further conduct biomedical and engineering testing and complete at least six batches of animal experiments before entering to the clinical trial phase.

According to the scientists, once the device is marketed, it may end suffering for people in China with failing hearts, as many patients are waiting for heart transplants. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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