Artificial Muscle for End-Stage Heart Failure
We describe a device made of artificial muscle for the treatment of end-stage heart failure as an alternative to current heart assist devices. The key component is a matrix of nitinol wires and aramidic fibers called Biometal muscle (BM). When heated electrically, it produces a motorless, smooth, and lifelike motion. The BM is connected to a carbon fiber scaffold, tightening the heart and providing simultaneous assistance to the left and right ventricles. A pacemaker-like microprocessor drives the contraction of the BM. We tested the device in a dedicated bench model of diseased heart. It generated a systolic pressure of 75 mm Hg and ejected a maximum of 330 ml/min, with an ejection fraction of 12%. The device required a power supply of 6 V, 250 mA. This could be the beginning of an era in which BMs integrate or replace the mechanical function of natural muscles. ASAIO Journal 2012; 58:103-108.