The “first entirely soft artificial heart”, by ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich makes use of 3D printing to create a silicone artificial heart. Indeed, statistics show that 26 million people suffer from heart failure in the world and a prevalent lack of heart donors.

Heart makers

PhD student Nicholas Cohrs and Professor of Functional Materials Engineering Wendelin Stark are behind this innovation.  

The Product Development Group at ETH Zurich helped to evaluate the heart.  3D Printing , especially lost-wax casting technique was used to create the intricate molds of the artificial heart.

For Cohrs, the silicone organ is monoblock with complex inner structure”; it weighs 390 grams with a volume of 679 cm3 . Furthermore, the silicone organ could only last about 3,000 beats which corresponds to a lifespan of less than an hour.

“This was simply a feasibility test. Our goal was not to present a heart ready for implantation, but to think about a new direction for the development of artificial hearts.” In other terms, to discover a better solution for heart organs.

The silicone artificial heart’s project brings together 20 research groups from Zurich and Berlin. ETH Zurich’s researchers hope they will definitely provide a vital solution to this part of medicine.

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