Bionic heart invention provides hope for heart disease

By Maria Kyriacou

Bionic heart invention provides hope for heart disease
Brisbane is leading the way with a ground breaking artificial heart tipped to save lives within three years

A new approach to the design of artificial heart devices could see a drastic improvement in both lifespan and reliability for heart disease patients.

The bionic heart aims to add at least 10-years of usability on top of what current artificial heart designs offer, giving hope to thousands suffering from heart-related issues. Its endurance is credited to a design that offers less wear and tear than previous models.

Brisbane engineer Dr Daniel Timms began work on his creation known as the BiVACOR while still a student at the The University of Queensland in 2001 and after over a decade of work is excited by its progress.

A successful transplant into a live and healthy sheep has led the way for human trials which Dr Timms estimates will take place by 2018. A team of surgeons from Brisbane, Texas, Sydney and Melbourne convened at Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital, totally removing a sheep’s heart, and implanting the device.

The Prince Charles Hospital’s Professor John Fraser said it was a fantastic team effort and result, “There was no native heart at all. Instead, there was a titanium disc spinning, keeping this sheep happy and healthy.”

The device could herald a new era for the thousands of Australians diagnosed with heart disease every year, if the human trials perform well.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. Australia’s ageing population is but one factor that has seen a steady increase in the number of people living with cardiovascular disease.

The benefits of this Aussie invention touted as more reliable and robust than previous models, would provide a much needed alternative to organ donation.


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