A survey amongst the UK pulmonary hypertension community has shown overwhelming support for the development of a soft robotic heart that aims to reduce deaths from heart failure.
Researchers in the Netherlands are seeking funding to develop the pioneering organ – and last month we gathered the opinions of the PH community to help them with their bid. Results revealed that 100% of respondents think the potential development of the Hybrid Heart is ‘very important’ or ‘important’ and 99% are ‘very interested’ or ‘interested’ in its development.
The ‘Hybrid Heart’ consists of a soft robotic shell, artificial muscles and sensors to enable natural motion. Tissue-engineered lining will make sure all surfaces in contact with blood are safe. Energy transfer (electricity) will be transferred wirelessly from a close power source worn in the patient’s clothing.
The hope is that the Hybrid Heart could replace the need for heart transplantation from human donors, meaning more lives can be saved.
For people with pulmonary hypertension, it means that a heart transplant alone – without lungs too – would be possible, because unlike a human heart, the right side of the Hybrid Heart would be able to deal with the pressures caused by PH.
The project has been shortlisted with three others for up to £30m of funding from the British Heart Foundation via its Big Beat Challenge.
Hybrid Heart is led by Professor Jolanda Kluin (pictured) at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.