Researchers at Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital have unveiled a powered soft robotic system that wraps around the heart to help augment the cardiac output. Reminiscent of a heart massage, the device makes intimate contact with the organ and contracts with its natural rhythm, applying force to give the heart additional strength.
While left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) already help many people with ailing hearts to live better and longer, they can lead to terrible side effects such as stroke, and require patients to be on blood thinners that bring their own complications.
Unlike LVADs, the soft robot does not actually come in contact with the blood, nor does it create unusual turbulence LVADs generate that is responsible for unwanted hematologic effects.
Image courtesy of medGadget