The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is a biventricular device that fully replaces a patient’s failing heart in order to maintain cardiac health when a patient’s heart may have otherwise failed before receiving a donor transplant. The device works by completely removing the two ventricles and four valves of a patient’s heart in a manner that leaves the atria, aorta, and pulmonary artery intact. When a donor heart becomes available, the Total Artificial Heart is removed from these sites, and the new heart is easily attached to the remaining circulatory structures. The Total Artificial Heart is powered by a portable driver the patient can wear like a backpack.
What sets this artificial heart apart from others currently on the market is the increased biostability of the Elast-Eon™ Polymer PHV (Pulmonary Heart Valve).The nanotexture surface that coats the Elast-Eon™ Polymer PHV is designed to create adhesion between tissue and the device, enhancing the “stickiness” of the device and allowing it to sufficiently bind to the surrounding tissue. Adhesion is achieved by optimizing texture, electrostatic charge, and molecular binding sights known as ligands. The surface is also designed to have an affinity for endothelial cells but not platelets. This allows the device to be naturally coated by the patient’s cells, replicating the environment found on the endocardial layer of a heart, without developing the risk of platelet clotting through coagulation. Lastly, because it contains a synthesized, biocompatible co-polymer of silicone macrodiols and polyurethanes that the body does not recognize as foreign, the coating reduces the likelihood of rejection and eliminates the need for immunosuppressant medication.
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The Total Artificial is able to serve as an immediately available mechanical circulatory support device to restore cardiac and organ vitality of the patient, increasing their viability a transplant candidate. Its nanotexture polymer surface decreases post-op risk associated with transplant rejection by the body’s immune system, and mechanical failure due to device dislodgement.
The Total Artificial Heart immediately and completely eliminates the symptoms and source of heart failure. Unlike donor transplants, which have availability of approximately 3,500 per year worldwide, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at any SynCardia Certified Center. The Total Artificial Heart restores the cardiovascular health of the patient by increasing cardiac index, overcoming high pulmonary arterial pressure, and restoring central venous pressure, which revives the health of vital organs. The Total Artificial also increases survival rate by 33% compared to those who did not use the device as a bridge to their second transplant.
One difficulty in heart implants is the risk of having blood flow cause the implant to detach from its site. There also remains a risk of the patient’s immune system rejecting the device.