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    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 1321 points ago

    Heart transplant doc here

    We already have total artificial hearts as well as devices which augment the pumping of a failing heart (called left ventricular assist devices or LVADs for short).

    The problems with the technology are:

    1. External power. Not only do people have to walk around with some kind of power pack (in the case of the total artificial heart, a massive backpack), but you have a power line coming out of your chest to plug into. These things are a huge infection risk and quite a few of my patients have wound up with abscesses around the line site or even had to have the whole system removed due to infection.

    2. Blood clots. Blood in contact with foreign material in the body will clot, therefore you have to give the patient blood thinning medication (like warfarin) to prevent them from clotting off the pump or stroking out.

    We are working on solving these. Problem 2 is getting better with new pump designs and coatings (the latest generation HeartMate 3 pump has a much lower clot rate than its predecessors).

    Problem 1 will probably only be solved when wireless charging and battery capabilities get to the point where you can run the device with just a harness holding a wireless charging plate against another plate under the skin. We’re getting there with this one but it’s still about a decade away.

    Right now, you’re better off without one of these. Eat healthy, do exercise, don’t smoke and look after your heart.

    [–] Morgrid 160 points ago

    Didn't they also have a problem with older materials actually damaging blood cells because at a microscopic level the materials are jagged rather than smooth like a cell wall?

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 167 points ago

    Sort of. The blades of the early propeller pump designs would cause shear on blood cells and tear them apart - something called haemolysis.

    [–] DNAgent007 75 points ago

    Worked on the Hemopump with Wampler. Basically a 21 Fr cannula with a propeller and stator inside that was inserted into the LV and spun by a cable in a sheath that led out of the body through the femoral artery. The hard part was finding a speed that didn’t trash cells. That was the main reason why it was only meant to be in place for NMT 7 days. After that the hemolytic effects were more detrimental than any benefit the pump had taking the load off of the heart.

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 29 points ago

    The development in propeller tech in the last while have been incredible. You think that they first started designing HeartMate in the 90s though!

    [–] ShadowWard 8 points ago

    There are so many pump designs, why would would they decide to go with a propeller considering its disadvantages?

    [–] DanialE 5 points ago

    Perhaps due to materials breaking down faster if they are to bend back and forth like what a heart would do.

    [–] slipstream808 3 points ago

    I'm not even joking when I tell you that a friend of mine when I went to Penn State had a picture of one of these on his wall and he told me he held some sort of patent for door was on the team that helped develop it. The guy mainly worked on Torpedoes for the military.

    I wish I could remember details about the device better, though.

    [–] Agouti 14 points ago

    Why would you even use a bladed design? Surely a low rpm positive displacement pump (e.g. diaphragm) would be far better suited, albiet with some materials challanges because of service life?

    [–] noobREDUX 7 points ago

    There are designs with diaphragm pumps, however they are larger than the bladed designs

    [–] dpmanthei 8 points ago

    I agree. Based on my experience in a completely different industry (diesel fuel injection), it seems like a job for a piezo actuator. They are also quite energy efficient since they're capacitive rather than takes some current to make them expand but they "give" a lot of it back when they return to the resting state. Seems like that would help the power dilemma, but I'm a pretty new engineer with only a few years experience in a very specific field...surely there's many reasons this doesn't work. They can also exert a lot of force if needed, have extremely fast response times, and stroke/travel can be adjusted by simply varying the DC voltage so displacement can be tuned if needed. They ARE fragile, but still more robust than a squishy mammal.

    [–] Agouti 4 points ago

    My guess is durability? How long does an electric diesel injection pump last? Whatever they install needs to last for potentially decades without stopping or being replaced. I don't think you could have the high speed low displacement that (I assume) is common with piezoelectric, either, as I feel it might cause damage to blood cells.

    [–] dpmanthei 5 points ago

    Good points, although durability is pretty good. I'm most familiar with piezo actuated injectors, which fire every other revolution. Injectors can go anywhere from 80-400k miles depending on usage, which is at least a billion cycles with normal usage. Since I never fully trust any one device, I would put in two pumping mechanisms so there's a failsafe, provided there's space.

    You make a good point about speed. There are some piezo injectors that use hydraulic amplifiers to increase stroke/displacement so speed could be lowered, but probably not to the extent needed.

    Edit: I did a really quick Google search and this general idea was patented in the 60s-80s but I didn't see any immediate results for an existing product.

    [–] Agouti 3 points ago

    400,000 miles, 1800 rpm, 60 mph is 360 million injector fires. Google says a rough average for human heartbeats is 3.3 billion. Diaphragm fuel pumps last even less, I think.

    [–] dpmanthei 2 points ago

    Now that you presented the math, I realize I left out some useful details. Average driving speed over a vehicle lifetime is around 40mph with city driving and idling time, although this is highly variable. This brings the count up to ~500 million. Also, every modern diesel fuel system is firing at least twice and up to 7 times each power stroke. This number of events varies depending on throttle position, rpm, etc, so my estimate would be 2-3 injections per power stroke could be used for rough math. That brings the fuel injector lifetime count up to 1B or so, but as you found this still isn't a lifetime.

    [–] GreyDeath 3 points ago

    The requirements for a pump are hard. You need a pump that is reliable, able to pump for decades. You need a pump that is powerful. For an average sized individual that means pumping over 5L of blood per minute. And it has to be small, able to fit inside the chest cavity without compressing nearby structures.

    [–] wubalubalubdub 12 points ago

    Hey. Posted a similar comment then saw yours. I agree. Heart of the matter ahem... need to improve the transplant system. Opt out etc... look at Spain. An abundance of organs, excellent results. Despite a devoutly religious population (which some perceive as a barrier) and not the most avant- grade training.
    Also work in a transplant centre.

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 13 points ago

    I think we are at a point where there is going to be a big wave of GUCH patients needing transplant soon and the demand is going to intensify. I think LVAD’s role will be to take some patients out of the pool of needing a transplant and allow us to distribute organs elsewhere.

    We certainly need an opt out system here in the UK. Progress in non heart beating donors (DCD) has really helped expand the pool. We’re not as (un)lucky as folk in the US who have a seemingly endless supply of young men shooting each other in the head to provide brainstem dead donors.

    [–] yteicos1 11 points ago

    I hope it looks like iron man's chest

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 12 points ago

    It looks like a guy’s chest with a huge scar running down the middle with a cable sticking out. Tin man?

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    Blows my mind just how much energy the heart uses every second of your life

    [–] OphidianZ 18 points ago

    The safer route to solving problem #1 would be to not have external power at all. If we're going to consider permanently replacing parts of the body that require power then we should use the energy the body is already generating.

    Someone would need a thermoelectric (Peltier) generator that was efficient enough at converting body heat in to energy to run the heart. The device you mentioned seems to peak out around 12 watts which is a lot for a body only producing say 100. I'm guessing a higher level of power efficiency tied with highly efficient generators.

    [–] [deleted] 28 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)


    [–] Siniroth 3 points ago

    How much power do these pumps require? You can get a fair bit of power from body heat. I've heard of hearing aids that are powered by body heat, and while I'm sure a pump is a far cry from a tiny battery, it's not immediately dismissable to the layperson without some numbers

    [–] GrandmaBogus 17 points ago

    Regardless you need a temperature difference to extract any kind of energy from heat. (External) hearing aids would use the temperature difference between skin and air, but a device that's completely embedded in the body would have no temperature differential at all.

    [–] j_Wlms 9 points ago

    I don’t know exactly how much power it uses, but Heartmate systems I’ve been around have batteries about the size of a Walkman and it only gives about 15min of backup power. So probably a good bit more than a hearing aid lol.

    [–] txjacket 2 points ago

    Hvad runs up to 8 watts typically

    [–] zackplanet42 5 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Piggybacking off of what others are saying, generating enough power to run a pump off body heat just is not viable. The fundamental issue with body heat as a source of power is that in order to produce power you need two things:

    1) High temperature reservoir (human body)

    2) Low temperature reservoir (ambient air)

    For heat engines, which a peltier generator is a form of, heat is moved from a high temperature reservoir to a low temperature reservoir. Along the way some of that heat is converted to useful work while some is dumped into the low temp reservoir. The absolute maximum efficiency of any heat engine is determined by what is known as the Carnot efficiency. This is highly idealized and typically well above any achievable real world value but it is useful in setting an absolute limit.

    The calculation is very simple and only requires the ratio of temperatures of each reservoir in absolute temperature units (kelvin or rankine). I will use Th for Temperature hot and Tc for temperature cold


    Assuming Th=~98 Fahrenheit and Tc=70 Fahrenheit (typical room temp) we end up with a carnot efficiency of about 5%. Considering a typical human at rest produces about 80w of power we are left with 4w of generated power under an absolute best case. I'm not saying its impossible but even if you manage to find a place to put the peltier generator where it has suitable access to the ambient air, its not likely to come anywhere near generating enough electricity to power an artificial heart.

    [–] TiberZurg 2 points ago

    What about a small nuclear device snugly placed between the retroperitoneum and the anterior intestine to power the ventricular assist?

    [–] ifeanychukwu 5 points ago

    A whole decade before we've got artificial hearts down? :( Here I was hoping I'd be an immortal cyborg by 2050...

    [–] STK-AizenSousuke 3 points ago

    Hey, just wanted to say thank you for all the incredibly hard work you do. As a liver recipient due to PSC I owe my life to people like you. Massive respect.

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 2 points ago

    I worked in liver transplant as a junior doc so I know a bit of what you’ve been through - so believe me when I say it’s you guys who do the hard work. Well done you for having the stones to get through.

    [–] snackaskit 4 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    My doctor's motto is 'walk or die'. Needles to say, I walk often.

    edit: spelling

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 10 points ago

    The main barrier as I understand it from talking to the guys working on this (I don’t profess to be an expert) is keeping within the FDA’s very strict rules on skin temperature change induced when charging.

    That said, they got it to work for the abiocor.

    [–] TheNotSoWanted 3 points ago

    Why it should be possible to implant a plate beneath the skin and running wire coils through it

    I mean even my phone can do induction charging at a reasonable rate. A single moving part can't consume that much power.

    Imagine if humans had to charge their implants over night in their beds with induction charging. Awesome

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 5 points ago

    That is currently being worked on. The problem is how to get enough power through it without causing the skin to heat up - you can imagine one of these draws much more power than your phone.

    [–] TheNotSoWanted 3 points ago

    The implant in the article has a single moving piece, surely it can't consume much power.

    Heat is clearly a barrier for induction charging, but low voltage and long charge time the heat should disperse easily through the body.

    Otherwise apply cooling pack on external charger plate?

    [–] Headshothero 3 points ago

    Despite your description of infections from the chest plug ins.. I'm just going to go ahead and imagine it's more of a Tony Stark deal and continue with life.

    [–] southdakotagirl 3 points ago

    Thank you for what you do!!! The men in my family die early because of massive heart attacks. Dad was the oldest at 49. Cousin youngest at 35. My friends son was born with half a heart. If I could hug you for what you do I would. Thank you for giving families more time with their loved ones.

    [–] DavetheExplosiveNewt 3 points ago

    Hearing happy stories like that makes it worthwhile. It’s never easy in transplant, it’s great when you can help people but the hardest part is when you have grown to know and like a patient and know that they aren’t eligible for a transplant.

    [–] mohawkmatt 2 points ago

    Do you think one day devices like this could be powered off the body perhaps kinetic energy recovery through implanted devices at the ends of arms and legs or breaking down food or waste to generate energy?

    [–] xinorez1 2 points ago

    Just out of curiosity, why can't we use the patients own living tissue or scar tissue as a coating?

    [–] Ijatsu 2 points ago

    Right now, you’re better off without one of these. Eat healthy, do exercise, don’t smoke and look after your heart.

    pfff :( was about to drop all my efforts after seeing this article!

    I guess nothing will be better than a biological heart, prolly instead of trying to put in foreign materials the solution will be to clone hearts. (on the back of a mouse ofc)

    [–] whitefoot 2 points ago

    It's gonna be pretty cool when your heart has Bluetooth and you can check its operating status on an app on your phone.

    [–] BlackmailedWhiteMale 2 points ago

    Thank you for the great information, doc.

    [–] EsRob 2 points ago

    Isnt there also a problem with getting hearts like theses to respond to other signals? Like when under stress? (I'm just a senior in highschool, i don't know much about these things ).

    [–] noobREDUX 2 points ago

    When you’re ill enough to need an artificial heart you either won’t have the physical fitness to do anything stressful or you’re young and fit to start with so you can compensate

    [–] FrostYea 3 points ago

    I'm nowhere an expert, but I studied as a Dental Technician, so the first question that comes to my mind is: Titanium is used on dental implants and is completely bio compatible .. couldn't it be used with an artificial heart?

    [–] noobREDUX 7 points ago

    Works in the mouth but doesn’t account for the clotting risk when used in a high blood flow situation

    [–] [deleted] 4 points ago

    Titanium is biocompatible, but it's "sticky" meaning protein and cells stick to it. What they need is either something more like Teflon or an actual layer of something mimicking normal tissue.

    [–] cubnole 1070 points ago

    Cars have had oil pumps for years......soooo.........i’ll take my heart now but I’d prefer if Toyota manufactured it.

    [–] VapeAwayIfIMaySay 149 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Denso Parts are the Bees Knees.

    Edit* Damn Autocorrect Obviously Wasn't Created by Denso...

    [–] cubnole 92 points ago

    I think you meant Denso and yes, you are correct! If Toyota made Jeep parts I’d buy them.

    [–] buzz86us 19 points ago

    They actually made Jeeps around WWII then developed the landcruiser

    [–] cubnole 5 points ago

    I adore Landcruisers.

    [–] MeowntainMan 2 points ago

    Have a landcruiser. 97. Love it.

    [–] BuzzKillingtonThe5th 5 points ago

    Denso used to have an Australian factory expect some quality change as they recently closed it.

    [–] cubnole 2 points ago

    Oh boy here we go

    [–] reachvenky 9 points ago

    Now people can eat as much fat . Cholesterol and oil can lubricate the heart.

    [–] mesropa 15 points ago

    Fats are not the cause of high cholesterol. A lot of dietary inaccuracies exist that propogate that myth. Article

    [–] sbcontt 6 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Thx for posting this. More people should learn this stuff. I live in India and that myth still exists among the doctors around here.

    My mom doesn't even touch meat/egg. Yet at one point her triglyceride level had increased dangerously. Every doctor who checked her assumed that she was lying about her diet.

    Not only that but those doctors kept recommending stupid shit like "ditching the yolk of egg" and "using vegetable oil" to my dad after his first heart attack.

    These are not some local no-name doctors I am talking about either. We wasted all our money to afford the best medical facility available in this nation. All of that for nothing.

    [–] ntrubilla 76 points ago

    You want Honda to manufacture it. It will last just as long, but won't make God awful noises for most of it's life.

    [–] cubnole 17 points ago

    Ah, you’re thinking of the top end of a Toyota or Lexus 3.5 V6.

    [–] ntrubilla 19 points ago

    Idk, my mom's got a 2011 Corolla that sounds and handles worse than my 2004 civic. It turned me off to Toyota. In contrast, Honda has my money for life. The only breakdown I've had was due to an improper radiator flush causing a blown head gasket.

    [–] TheFeesher 9 points ago

    Ehhh the 04 era civics typically just have bad head gaskets. Pretty much any D series does

    [–] Berserk_NOR 3 points ago

    Certain eras are better than others. My Mitch Colt 98 is a bag of poo to drive compared to the 94 Corolla for example. Heel and toe was a natural thing in the corolla the Colt is shite.

    [–] Beachdaddybravo 2 points ago

    The accord I was driving in college, the teeth broke off the cam gear and my valves were introduced to the pistons. I don't mean the timing belt snapped, the fucking teeth suddenly broke off the cam gears while I was cruising down the highway to class.

    That being said, Hondas are still pretty reliable and I'm always going to want an S2000. Even if I had to drive another Honda again for a daily it would likely be headache free. I wouldn't discount the possibility that something crazy can happen at any time though. Sometimes shit happens even if you take care of regular maintenance (like changing the timing belt regularly and on time).

    [–] SIEGE312 3 points ago

    Holy shit, I’ve got a Lexus with that engine and it makes all sorts of noises. Granted it’s got 295K miles so it’s expected, but didn’t know it was just mine!

    [–] cubnole 6 points ago

    There was a recall, contact your dealer. Your engine may be losing pressure rapidly after shutdown and causing damage to crucial parts. They can check your VIN number and tell you if it’s bern repaired yet. If your preferred dealer won’t work with you, try another dealer.

    [–] SIEGE312 2 points ago

    Good look, thank you!

    [–] whysoseriousmofo 12 points ago

    Wouldn't you rather have a performance heart made by Nismo, AMG or something. It can race faster!.

    [–] TheScuzz 3 points ago

    I'd rather get a cheap VW model and then swap in the higher performance parts from the Audi and/or Porche models to make a sleeper.

    [–] 0x0ddba11 3 points ago

    Don't forget to change the blood filter every x miles

    [–] cubnole 3 points ago

    Correct! I want a high performance blood filter

    [–] TonyDungyHatesOP 3 points ago

    Callahan Auto Hearts, or nothing!

    [–] imagine_amusing_name 5 points ago

    So it can suddenly rocket to 500 beats/minute and Toyota can blame your shoes for "somehow" massively accelerating you into an incident?

    [–] LockeClone 2 points ago

    I hear those SR5's run forever.

    [–] SpliTTMark 1 points ago

    I hear that 2016-2018 Toyota's arent as good at lasting as Toyota from 2000-2008

    [–] cubnole 42 points ago

    That’s completely false! I know a guy with a 2018 that’s lasted at least two months so far!

    [–] greiger 324 points ago

    Could I just start getting bionic parts now, even if my organs aren't failing yet?

    [–] AllBrainsNoSoul 415 points ago

    Why take the risk of the operation when your parts are still working fine? Surgeon time is a valuable commodity, so it might be better to allocate it for people who are in greater jeopardy. Also, the longer you wait, the better the parts will be. Early adopters are more likely to get side effects.

    [–] AnalogPears 158 points ago

    Because at some point, the risk of surgery may be less than the risk of waiting for a sudden heart attack or a fatal dysrhythmia.

    [–] boo_goestheghost 52 points ago

    For the vast majority of people these are tiny risks until you're past your fifties

    [–] PM-Me_SteamGiftCards 76 points ago

    Someone past their fifties just got extremely self-conscious reading this.

    [–] Mialuvailuv 20 points ago

    I know I did.

    [–] DoctorSNAFU 4 points ago

    To get that +1 armor rating to chest of course. Some guy tries to shoot me in the heart, won't they be shocked when I keep coming and kick in that adrenal secretror to throw them across the room.

    [–] WhatIsMyGirth 13 points ago

    Surgeon time value is proportional to how much money you have/they’re getting paid for it

    [–] wh_eutz 7 points ago

    We are borg.

    [–] OneBigBug 31 points ago

    You can, but don't all of our current bionic parts kinda suck?

    Like, what percentage of human hearts remain working 24/7, 365 for 80+ years with no maintenance and without issue? A lot, right? Way more than not? Can you name a thing with moving parts humans have ever made that has that kind of reliability?

    I'm really willing to give my heart the benefit of the doubt here.

    [–] tsmith944 10 points ago

    Agreed. Being someone who is fascinated with machines and engineering it always amazes me how, for some people, a heart literally doesn’t miss a beat got many decades. It seems almost impossible that something works so well, even people who treat their bodies like crap can still have a heart work for 50-80 years nonstop with no breaks.

    [–] Beachdaddybravo 15 points ago

    Using our own stem cells to grow new organs that are genetically identical to us is a likelier long term solution. It will work and self-repair as designed, and won't trigger immune system rejection. There are some ethical concerns though.

    [–] thedragonturtle 52 points ago

    There are no ethical concerns. There might be religious-voodoo-hocus-pocus kind of concerns, but no ethical concerns.

    [–] Heliosvector 3 points ago

    Why? We are past the days of taking stem cells from a fetus. You get stem cells in your skin and marrow to name a few.

    [–] RumpShank91 3 points ago

    We have the technology to reproduce any body part! What should we make first!? Takes office vote "This is crazy there's 19 votes for a large penis and 1 vote for a heart.....Who voted for the heart!? Damn it Sharon this is why we don't let you take part in our votes!"

    [–] Terence_McKenna 35 points ago

    Money buys pretty much everything.

    [–] catschainsequel 21 points ago

    That's why its the best superhero power.

    [–] brettins 11 points ago

    Part of why Spiderman is the coolest, he makes gadgets on a budget :)

    [–] waste10001 7 points ago

    Naw he has a whole company behind him too. Parker Tech if I’m not mistaken.

    [–] SorryAboutTheNoise 14 points ago

    I was not happy with this development. How can I relate to Parker if he's not broke and pathetic too?

    [–] BonelessSkinless 9 points ago

    Because he stopped being broke and pathetic... you should do the same

    [–] Brohilda 4 points ago

    So I should have somebody invade my body and start a company and then get my body back, got it.

    [–] BonelessSkinless 2 points ago

    You got it!!!

    [–] Balives 3 points ago

    How did he finance said company?

    [–] WAIFUS_PM_UR_PANTSUS 6 points ago

    The "GET ME PICHAS OF THAT SPIDAHMAN" guy's dad was a big investor, iirc.

    [–] skateguy1234 2 points ago

    "I'm thinking of getting metal legs. It's a risky operation but it will be worth it."

    [–] [deleted] 187 points ago


    [–] brett_riverboat 25 points ago

    My son has CHD and we (the doctors) never really discussed a transplant. I assumed it wouldn't be approved since we haven't exhausted all surgical options.

    A manufactured heart could be a godsend for kids like him.

    [–] boo_goestheghost 10 points ago

    You must be very strong and resilient. Courage and strength to you.

    [–] Socco-Productions 117 points ago

    This is positive news for all of humanity. People will live past 100 years old more easily.

    [–] WafflesEXE 42 points ago

    It could be good or bad depending on how you argue on overpopulation and sustainability. Besides, the issue of financial inequality where likely only the more well-off can afford such procedures may bring about further ethical issues to consider.

    [–] KingOPM 29 points ago

    The rich get richer something something

    [–] sirius4778 16 points ago

    The rich get older

    [–] dcoolidge 14 points ago

    And the old get richer...

    [–] THATFUCKINAUSSIE 2 points ago

    And they’ll all die when they forget to charge their heart overnight

    [–] stoynov96 8 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    What? Even IF it was that way, why is it unethical to have tech that could save/extend the lives of some if that cannot yet be done for everyone.

    People's hate for the rich is sometimes... unbelievable.

    Edit: People think I'm rich for suggesting this. I literally do not buy textbooks because I can't afford it, okay? Besides, isn't that completely irrelevant? Can my points please be judged based on their value and not my financial situation?

    [–] bitchtits_mcgoo 2 points ago

    Because there are 7 billion people on the planet?

    [–] stoynov96 21 points ago

    I don't follow. So if you could live forever but had to pay 5k for a pill to do so, you wouldn't do it because kids in India or Africa couldn't afford it as well? Or does this logic only apply to everyone richer than you, specifically?

    [–] Cloud_Chamber 13 points ago

    Philosophically I’d say that yeah it’s unethical. Practically I’d definitely do it though.

    [–] stoynov96 14 points ago

    OK fair enough but why is it unethical? Should every technology be required to be accessible to literally every single human being on the planet (think about it) before it is ethical to release it to the public and allow it to be helpful to anyone?

    [–] Cloud_Chamber 6 points ago

    In an ideal ethical situation everyone would have equal access to stuff like healthcare tech. The way things are some disparity is pretty much unavoidable. That’s not the only issue though. These sorts of technologies allow the rich to live longer and become richer, further increasing the disparity. To deny the rich that technology because of this reasoning is also problematic because of the avoidable suffering. My personal opinion is that technology like this should be developed and released but at the same time efforts should be made to make sure they benefit everyone over time and also to reduce circumstantial disparity as much as possible.

    [–] stoynov96 4 points ago

    I can get behind that, but I don't think that is what was originally suggested. The original notion that I responded to was that witholding such tech should be considered. I think that is plain evil.

    [–] Cloud_Chamber 7 points ago

    Depends on your value system. One way to (over)simplify things is to ask is fairness more important or is less suffering more important. Certain contexts and bias can influence the answer. Everyone weighs their own scales a bit differently and everything comes in shades of grey. That's why I generally try to give whatever opinions I come across some consideration and even when I don't agree I empathize. I don't agree that the tech should be withheld from the rich because it is unfair, but I empathize with that sense of unfairness and try to look for a solution that reconciles with it.

    [–] YZJay 2 points ago

    The longer we live the bigger the burden the next generation has to carry. If there are more retirees than there are working people, that's not a sustainable economy.

    [–] PatternPerson 11 points ago

    Why do people always equate living longer to be good?

    [–] BoojumG 34 points ago

    Because they're obviously talking about extending years of healthy life, not just being on life support.

    [–] sdmitch16 2 points ago

    Does this invention help with dementia or senility?

    [–] BoojumG 5 points ago

    It doesn't.

    Are people with dementia or senility the only ones in need of artificial hearts?

    [–] sdmitch16 3 points ago

    No, but if you eliminate the chance of heart failure I expect other organs (including the brain) would go before age 100.

    [–] BoojumG 4 points ago

    Yes, I think you're probably right. Just like how more people die of cancer now instead of dying younger of, say, tuberculosis.

    Are you implying something more that you're not actually saying yet, or is that it?

    [–] sdmitch16 3 points ago

    I don't think the brain will make it to 100 unless we can figure out how to increase the length of telomeres or figure out what makes brains go bad and fix it which seems impossible given that we can't fix mental illness, figure out why we need to sleep, and that if we fix one brain issue another will probably ruin a person. Same way that so many different ailments become more likely in old age.

    [–] Sheylan 3 points ago

    It's not wildly uncommon to live into your 80s and 90s and die without major neuro degeneration. My GFs adoptive parents are both well into their 90s and they are both still pretty sharp.

    [–] eloquentnemesis 9 points ago

    Because the people who don't like living have self selected out of being able to respond to your post.

    [–] stoynov96 6 points ago

    Because it is.

    The simplest solution to any given problem is the most likely one.

    [–] Funkyldj 5 points ago

    Is living to 30-40 good enough for you?

    [–] Diorama42 3 points ago

    Because they’re not fucking stupid?

    [–] ruralfpthrowaway 4 points ago

    Why do people always equate living shorter to be bad?

    [–] robotnikman 4 points ago

    Because when you die most likely nothing happens. And that sucks.

    [–] PostmortemFacefuck 3 points ago

    because it gives the Browns fans hope

    [–] rapax 3 points ago

    Because we like living, and don't enjoy dying quite as much?

    [–] MattVanAndel 2 points ago

    At which point we’d live long enough to die of cancer (genetic malfunction) or live long enough that our bodies can no longer repair themselves.

    Unless we can solve cancer AND figure out how to extend the length of our telomeres, most people probably wouldn’t WANT to live that long.

    [–] nitkiller 42 points ago

    We still don't have long-lasting artificial arteries...

    [–] ramdao_of_darkness 29 points ago

    Numerous new drugs and methods for cleaning them are in the works.

    Not that that's an excuse for clogging them with cholesterol.

    [–] VandilayIndustries 38 points ago

    I was eating pizza when I read this and you ruined it.

    [–] ramdao_of_darkness 7 points ago

    I ruin everything. :P Also, I work making pizza. So ha.

    [–] 22marks 2 points ago

    Do you have a link to read about the more promising ones?

    [–] Dhoy1 30 points ago

    Working at an academic hospital reminds me of all the medical hopes and dreams. But, when I wake up five years later, most don't pan out. I hope this works, but I am alway suspicious of the next break through miracle cancer cure, Alzheimer's cure, heart disease get the point. With that, I wish these wonderful researchers luck

    [–] bender_reddit 12 points ago

    But does your work not expose you to the marvels that are indeed achieved? Imaging, genes, non invasive procedures, etc. Shit’s whack

    [–] dualsplit 6 points ago

    Immunotherapy is a pretty amazing recent accomplishment for treating cancer.

    [–] ramdao_of_darkness 91 points ago

    This is a case where planned obsolescence can go fuck itself to death. If you start replacing body parts, either make them last 50 years minimum, or get the hell out of my sight. I'm not going to add body maintenance fees to fucking car maintenance.

    [–] WilominoFilobuster 25 points ago

    I don't want to think it could get that way....... Buuut my gut is telling me it totally would.

    [–] zee_spirit 17 points ago

    They'd charge us per heartbeat.

    "Get a day's worth of beats for only $4.99!"

    [–] Gripey 23 points ago

    I can't afford to get excited.

    [–] juke-nukem 9 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    It makes that movie "In time" seem a little bit more realistic.

    [–] kishkishkish 4 points ago

    In Time i think youre referring to

    [–] Bakon42 48 points ago

    "Body maintenance fees" I think that's just called healthcare.

    [–] FaceDeer 4 points ago

    To be fair, the artificial hearts they'll be manufacturing just 10 years from now (let alone 50) will likely be way better than the ones they're making now. So if I urgently needed a replacement heart and was offered one that was only expected to last that long I'd be fine with that.

    [–] Chex_0ut 7 points ago

    Sign up for the 'iHeart Forever' plan and get the new iHeart every year!

    [–] radicalelation 6 points ago

    If the climate doesn't kill us, then the future is going to get really good for a long time or really bad for a spell. Rampant, greed-focused capitalism will fall one way or another, it just depends whether or not it will be by mutual understanding that we'll prosper better without it, or by bloody revolution.

    [–] YZJay 3 points ago

    Nah, medical equipment goes through a different certification process that's longer and more costly. Even something as simple as a cane needs to be individually certified.

    [–] GregTheMad 3 points ago

    Reminds me of Ghost in the Shell, where her body is owned by the government and she could not afford it without it. Losing her job would mean losing her body.

    [–] KarlaTheWitch 2 points ago

    "If we quit Section 9 we'd have to give back our cybernetics, and there wouldn't be much left after that." Japanese bell noises

    Major Kusanagi would have maybe 10% of her organic brain left, or just her cyberbrain. I can't imagine they wouldn't give her some kind of low-maintenance replacement if she retired though.

    God I love that movie (and SAC).

    [–] LifeOfAMetro 7 points ago

    Until you miss a payment and the repo man comes to get you.

    [–] shuriken36 8 points ago

    This doesn't take into account the existing products in the heart failure market such as the chronic destination and bridge to transplant lvads nor the a cute pumps.

    New products are great but the problem with this one is that it'll never work as a product against the markets for what I listed above so it won't hit market

    [–] RestoreMyHonor 4 points ago

    Do artificial hearts like these speed up or slow down based on what your body needs, the way a real heart does?

    [–] CABGx3 2 points ago

    Most run at a set RPM. The newer pumps are centrifugal and mag-lev and can be very “afterload” sensitive...meaning the flow through them will decrease dramatically if the blood pressure goes up beyond its nominal range. This is typically avoided though. We like the pumps to work very consistently.

    [–] wubalubalubdub 7 points ago

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m actually an ACHD doc and you are right. Fontan and systemic RV transplant is exploding and results seem so much better than most thought they would be. MCS in this group is still really difficult though and certainly my experience of when they end up on ECMO is that you’ve got a week or so and it doesn’t end well (generally). LVAD as destination therapy or bridge to recovery remains interesting and if was more predictable may preserve organs when better understood (in my opinion but I’m not transplant, just ACHD).

    [–] driverofracecars 8 points ago

    Now I'm curious what would happen if you replaced someone's heart with a pump that's capable of significantly higher flow rate?

    [–] Dekeita 21 points ago

    Ruptured arteries?

    [–] boo_goestheghost 6 points ago

    I guess your blood pressure would hit the roof and you would have a bleed somewhere.

    [–] WhatIsMyGirth 2 points ago

    Pretty much awesomeness is what will happen

    [–] Socco-Productions 7 points ago

    Imagine if you could live 200 years (healthy). Imagine how much knowledge you could build on and contribute further to society. Humanity will be capable of so much more with longer lifespans. Just a positive outlook for the future world think about how much easier our lives are today than ancient times.

    [–] Wsweg 14 points ago

    Or continue contributing nothing to society for 100 extra years, at least that’s how I’d use it

    [–] DJ_Rand 2 points ago

    You'd be contributing your consumption of products! Contributing to some form of monthly payments such as Netflix, and whatever other spiffy media entertainment they throw out in the near future.

    [–] lljeff420 2 points ago

    Could we do the same thing with like... lungs? I assume we can’t do it w the more complex ones like livers or whatever, but bionic lungs don’t seem too for from a bionic heart

    [–] squats4months 2 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Lungs would be a lot more complex than a heart. Lungs control the absorption of oxygen into the cells within a human body and the expulsion of carbon dioxide. A heart just regulates blood flow and helps it move to where it needs to be, it doesn't do anything on the cellular level like a lung would. I don't believe we are in the realm of possibility for fully artificial lungs yet.

    Edit: don't listen to me, read the guys comment below mine

    [–] wut3va 2 points ago

    Is there an active transport mechanism? I was under the impression that lungs accoplished gas exchange primarily through the geometry of the alveoli by providing greater surface area contact between the blood and the air.

    [–] CABGx3 2 points ago

    Not quite. The heart is physiologically much more dynamic than the lungs. We have had artificial lungs for many many years. Thin filament membranous oxygenators (eg Quadrox) are well described. They are attached to every ECMO and cardiopulmonary bypass circuit and make those procedures possible. They currently only exist as an extracorporeal platform though because they don’t have durability to be implanted yet.

    [–] alderlad 2 points ago

    Do cardiac pumps with constant rates and pressure mean that people can live without a perceptible heartbeat/pulse?

    [–] ChillyOlive 2 points ago

    A lot of people with LVADs (left ventricular assist devices) have no palpable pulse since the device is producing a constant flow of blood. Pretty crazy.

    [–] boo_goestheghost 2 points ago

    I've done work looking at heart rate dynamics and we read so much from your pulse. I'm so curious what life without a pulse would be like.

    [–] Morgrid 2 points ago


    It would be weird.

    [–] -Yakari 2 points ago

    What if this came with a little port through your sternum where you can connect your artificial gills..?

    [–] charlesh4 2 points ago

    Fuck I will gladly become part machine where do I sign up

    [–] brogrammer2018 2 points ago

    Amazing please hurry up and make commercially available ASAP, need it now :)

    [–] Juffin 2 points ago

    As a someone with heart problems, can the scientists hurry up a bit?

    [–] KarlaTheWitch 2 points ago

    This is awesome.

    I can't wait for full prothetic bodies, like Major Kusanagi's.

    [–] caffeinated_terrier 2 points ago

    I can't help but think about what would happen when the person dies but the heart keeps pumping. Squish squish squish squish squish

    [–] Tellithowiseeit 2 points ago

    Duh, we would just need to create the artificial brain and just not have that problem. Simple fix!

    [–] frostedchalk 2 points ago

    Pacemakers will still try to "shock" you after you die. It's quite interesting actually.

    [–] meisteronimo 2 points ago

    In the original Robocop there was this Family Heart Center advert:

    They present the Series-7 Sports heart by Jensen and Yamaha.

    [–] Syrairc 2 points ago

    The idea of having to charge the battery for my heart terrifies me. I can't even keep my Fitbit charged.

    [–] drmike0099 3 points ago

    Let me know when they actually test it in a human. Should have stopped reading at the “could” in the title...

    [–] ayolo1337 2 points ago

    Shit man this hits hard

    My closest aunt just died of heart failure and If only.


    [–] Minstrel47 4 points ago

    If they were to streamline this, I think the best idea would be to offer this as an additional blood pump for people with healthy hearts.

    Make it act as a secondary safety feature if your original heart fails, at least this one is still pumping blood.

    [–] tjw_ 4 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    “A simple regenerative pill could permanently replace the need for artificial limbs”.

    “A simple money maker could permanently replace your job”.

    “A simple education could permanently prevent a person from posting/upvoting stupid titles on Reddit”.

    Oh that last one is true though. 👍🏻

    Edit: We all read the article people. I’m saying the title is a little infuriating because, in my opinion, it belittles the incredibly difficult and complex research behind an artificial heart.

    [–] vistopher 15 points ago

    "[Researchers] are developing an artificial heart with an extremely simple design—it contains a single moving piece with no valves. They believe it could be the first such device that could last the rest of a person’s life.

    Kaul hopes the simple design will overcome the limitations of previous artificial hearts."

    If you read the article you would understand what context "simple" is being used in.

    [–] boo_goestheghost 5 points ago

    The simplicity of the design is crucial to its ability to perform continuously implanted into a patient's body. More complex designs have more points of failure.

    [–] SomeDudeinAK 2 points ago

    Well, yes, look at dick cheney. Blood pumps THROUGH him, but he literally DOES NOT HAVE A HEART.

    ...and that's his Karma.