Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Heart
With the French biomedical company Carmat becoming the first to sell artificial hearts to an Italian patient, the company also made a benchmark in medical history. The company sold its first artificial heart to an Italian patient who underwent successful surgery. But, does the artificial work the same for all the patients? Or does it work depending on the severity of the patients’ heart? The Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Heart study its possible pros and cons.
Carmat’s artificial heart (Aeson) is a replica of the human heart performing its functions in case of heart malfunctions or failure. Carmat, a name combines the surname of co-founding surgeon Alain Carpentier with co-founding company Matra Défense is a French biomedical organization founded in the 1990s.
The company reports conducting 15 artificial heart implantations so far, out of which 11 patients had survived for more than six months. Given the success rate, the company has planned to sell artificial hearts to Germany this year. In contrast, the French will have to wait for it by 2023.
What are the Advantages of Artificial Heart?
The goal is to design a pump capable of providing a life span of over 15 years, but the successful machines cannot provide extra beats from minutes to few weeks. Nonetheless, time is what matters; it's considerable that patients receiving it at the earliest would be able to reap most advantages of the artificial heart.
1. Heart Surgeries would be performed easily
During heart surgeries, temporary equipment is needed to replace the heart and perform its functions. The time needed for performing surgery is supplied by implanting the device into the patient's body, and it can vary from few hours to days.
2. No need to wait for Heart Donors
According to the recent stats, around 106,726 patients in the US are on the waiting list of organ recipients. Heart patients are the third-highest contributor to the waiting list. There’s a 50-50 chance of whether the recipient’s heart accepts the new one.
However, in the case of artificial hearts, patients would not have to wait for a donor. Instead, they can buy a new one and schedule surgery with their surgeon at their convenience.
3. Less Rejection and Blood Group Problems
Most of the heart failures after a transplant are due to the rejection faced by the body's immune system. This often happens in the case of a natural heart. Even the tissues face rejection like a foreign organism, making it even more difficult for heart replacement surgeries to be successful.
But, with an artificial heart put in place, the chances of success are higher as the entire pumping process would take place mechanically.
4. Future Hopes are eye-opening advantages of artificial heart
The survival of humans and average life span increase can only be achieved with developments in medical sciences. Carmat's artificial heart is just a glimpse into the future.
With the new heights, the medical field has achieved in the last few decades is capable of treating and fighting even the deadliest diseases. Even Covid-19, taking its toll, has also been controlled with vaccines.
Even when the success rate is low, it has saved thousands of lives and provided safe transplants to even more. The latest designs of artificial hearts are available and are made using natural fibers to avoid rejection by the body. Until safer ways are available, the recent technology is doing a great job by increasing ways to reduce damages to the human body.
What are the Disadvantages of Artificial Heart?
The artificial heart is electro-hydraulically driven with a shape close to that of a human heart. It is indicated as a bridge to transplant in patients suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure. Apart from artificial hearts, various successful heart devices are available, delaying transplant requirements for 15 years. These ventricular assist devices have gained acceptance from many nations with different designs worldwide. The device may eliminate the need for a transplant. Still, there are many disadvantages of an artificial heart to consider.
1. Low survival Rate
Even with the current technology, engineers and doctors cannot provide 100% efficient machines to replace the original heart. However, most of the cases are not just because of mechanical faults or failures but because the human body cannot accept any foreign organ, whether unnatural or natural.
2. Limited Life
The artificial heart is just a machine, and unlike nature's gifted one, it has limited capabilities and life. The available hearts have a life of few thousand to a few million beats and needed to be replaced by another heart. However, even the most successful ones are capable of living up to 15 years.
3. Chances of Failure are dire disadvantages of artificial heart
It works like a machine part, and chances of failure are also high. The pump operation and regular blood flow are needed to be maintained for all organs to work correctly. If it is regulated, other organs can suffer stress and the chances of multiple organ failure increase in the patient.
4. Restricted Blood Flow
The natural capillaries are arteries that are capable of doing what is happening in the body. But the machine requires thin blood as thick blood is more viscous and has restricted flow. For this purpose, the patient is given drugs to make them thinner.
The surgical operation cost over 150,000 euros, forcing many to believe that it’s the only privileged ones who get the benefits of artificial heart. The cost limitations and limited availability are leading disadvantages of artificial heart as it is not readily available and affordable for everyone.
The cost of a heart alone is so high that not most people can afford a life based on an artificial heart. Apart from that, it requires highly qualified surgeons and doctors for the whole operation.
Conclusion on Pros and Cons of Artificial Heart
Understanding the pros and cons of artificial heart, it’s conclusive that it’s one of the most successful innovations in medical history, even with unprecedented problems. Previously there were no options available for patients facing heart issues, and this kind of technology could only be thought of. However, it needs to be made available for everyone, requiring a massive shift from making weapons to saving lives.