The Good: Artificial Heart/Heart Transplant

A natural heart has two pumps, each has two chambers. The right atrium pumps oxygen-depleted blood from the body into the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs. The left atrium sends aerated blood from the lungs into the left ventricle, which pumps blood out of the body. With each heartbeat, the two atria contracts together, followed by the large ventricles. Congestive heart failure is when the heart fails to pump blood. Heart failure will remain to be American’s number one health problem. Surgeons are coming up with many solutions to prevent and treat heart problems.

Implanting a functional heart or artificial heart that last a lifetime will fix the problem. Heart surgeons are severely limited in their ability to repair the heart muscle once it has been damaged. When a person suffers from a heart attack, muscle cells die and a region of the heart stops contracting, a decrease in heart function then becomes permanent. Multiple heart attacks causes deterioration from viral infections, heart valve disease or other causes, heart failure may ensure. According to American Heart Association, more than 5 million Americans suffer from heart failure. 50 percent of those patients die within five years.

There are a few systems when person has heart failure such as, extreme fatigue (tiredness), heart failure on the left, right or both sides of the body. The main symptom is extreme fatigue. The patient is no getting enough blood pumped from the heart to his/her muscles. Heart failure on the left side of the body causes breathlessness, panting, coughing or with a frothy spit (with the cough). These signs will be more noticeable when a patient is active or lying down. This happens when blood backs up in the pulmonary veins because the heart cannot keep up with the supply, causing fluid to leak into the lungs.

Heart failure on the right side of the body causes swollen ankles and/or legs, enlarged liver and/ or enlarged stomach. This happens because as blood flow out of the heart slows down. Blood then return to the heart through the vein backs up causing fluid accumulations in the tissues. When a patient has symptoms on both sides of the body the patient may experience dizziness and/or confusion, nausea, constipation and loss of appetite. The idea therapy for heart failure is to replace the damaged muscles with a functioning muscles. Heart surgeons do this by transplanting the heart.

Artificial hearts and pump-assist devices has been designed for potential alternatives because suitable heart transplantation are in short supply. An artificial heart maintains the heart’s blood circulation and oxygenation for varying periods of time. The artificial heart must beat 100,000 times every 24 hours, without requiring lubrication or maintenance and must have a constant power source. The heart must pump faster or slower depending on the activity of the patient. There are two major types of artificial hearts, they are the heart-lung machine and the mechanical heart.

The heart-lung machine consists of an oxygenator and a pump. It is mainly used to keep blood flowing while the heart is being operated on. The heart-lung machine can only operate for a few hours do to the blood being damaged after a long period of time. The mechanical heart was designed to reduce the work load of the heart. The mechanical heart and the heart-lung machine consist of equipment that pulses the blood between hearts beats or use an artificial auxiliary ventricle also known as left ventricle assist device (LVAD).

The left ventricle assist device pumps a portion of the cardiac output. Due to complications that the patients are having, the devices are used as a temporary replacement until natural hearts are obtained for transplantation. The main purpose of the artificial heart is not to provide permanent circulatory support. The first artificial heart was successfully transplanted into human in 1982, known as the Jarvik 7, invented by Robert Jarvik. The Jarvik 7 was implanted into Barney Clark, who survived for 112 days after the operation.

Many other patients received an artificial heart transplant but none survived more than 620 days after the operations. The benefit of the Jarvik 7 were that there wouldn’t be a wait for a human heart. The Jarvik 7 was used as a stopgap measure for patients awaiting natural hearts. The device provided hope that there wouldn’t be a wait for a heart. A heart transplant gives a patient with congenital heart disease the opportunity to have a normal heart with normal blood circulation. If the transplant goes well, heart function and blood flow will be better than ever.

A heart transplant replaces the patient’s heart with a donor heart. The surgeons remove the patient’s heart by transecting the aorta, the main pulmonary artery and the superior and inferior vena cavae, and dividing the left atrium. This leaves the back wall of the left atrium with the pulmonary vein opening in place so the doctors can connect the donor heart by sewing together the recipient and donor vena cavae, aorta, pulmonary artery and left atrium. Patients who have congenital heart disease, the doctor may simulations transplant the lungs and the heart.

Before the heart transplant take place, the donor heart must be a match to the patient by blood type and body size. As the heart transplant recipient, the donor must take medication to prevent his or her immune system from rejecting the new heart. The medications that are used are immunosuppressive medication. The medication is balanced out to prevent rejection of the patient’s new heart with the risk of side effects, which include infection or cancer. Depending on age, general health and response to the transplant determine a human life span after the surgery has been done.

An estimated of 75% of heart transplant patients live at least five years after surgery. Nearly 85% of those patients return to their daily activities they previously enjoyed. Although the artificial heart is only used for temporary use, it helps patients live longer until a new heart is obtained. When a patient undergoes surgery for a heart transplant give the patient a chance to live life as long as they can.

Works Cited Assciation, A. H. (2012, June 25). Heart Transplant.

Retrieved from http://www. jsp Curtis Mark Rimmeram, M. (2006). Heart Attack A Cleveland Clinic Guide. Cleveland. Marc Gillinov, M. (2012). Heart 411. Random House, Inc. , New York: Three Rivers Press. Paul Kligfield, M. (2002). The Cardiac Recovery Handbook. Long Island City, New York. Today, M. N. (2009, July 09 ). Heart Diseaae. Retrieved from What is Heart Failure? What Causes Heart Failure? : http://www. medicalnewstoday. com/articles/156849. php.

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