Robotic Sleeve Research Gives New Hope In Aiding Flabby Heart

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Feb 01, 2017 08:23 AM EST

Researchers from Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital latest invention, the robotic sleeve, may be the next frontier in heart failure treatment as it presents a new of aiding a failing heart without the heart disease risk of blood clots and bleeding.

The heart, when damaged by heart attacks and other health conditions will pump weaker through time and thus researchers believe that the robotic sleeve is an alternative way before people will decide to undergo surgery. It can also help patients who underwent surgery but are recovering.

Fox News said that the robotic sleeve serves as an encasement that will gently squeeze the heart to keep it pumping. The amazing thing about it is it can be customized to address the heart's needs. The device can also be placed outside the heart lessening the risk of blood clotting, strokes and bleeding that patients using the ventricular assist devices (VADs) experienced.

Its sleeve design is also said to efficiently fit in despite the heart's irregular surfaces. Its artificial muscles powered by pressurized air is programmed to mimic the pattern of the weakened heart muscles so that it can successfully pump blood through it and regularize its heartbeat.

To date, the robotic sleeve is only tested among six pigs that experienced heart failure. The device is said to have normalized blood flow for only a few hours. Scientists, however, want to improve the study and want to find out how long can the robotic sleeve function in a way that it can help the tested animals live normally again, University Herald reported.

To date, some 600,000 deaths in the US are caused by heart failure and 735,000 caused by heart attack as stated in statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-one million people around the world also suffer from heart failure.

The research on robotic sleeves is first published in the Science Translational Medicine journal. 

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