New Artificial Heart Biomimics The Heart Of A Cockroach

Did you ever wonder what makes the cockroach so resilient?  Maybe it's the cockroach heart that has as many as 13 pumping chambers, as opposed to human and animal hearts that only have four pumping chambers.

Sujoy K. Guha, a biomedical engineer at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IITK) has invented an artificial heart which, inspired by the cockroach heart, has a number of interconnected diaphragm chambers.  His invention, the Biventricular Pump, consists of two identical artificial ventricular pumps that are each made up of several diaphragm chambers.  

Guha explained to India's Telegraph that the cockroach heart pumps blood in stages, which reduces the build-up of pressure, unlike the human heart.  The cockroach heart has a fail-safe mechanism, in that if one of the chambers stops pumping blood, it doesn't mean that all the others do, so the situation is not life-threatening.  

“The inventiveness of our work lies in recognising the merits of the cockroach’s heart and adapting them to the needs of the human system,” said Guha. “A series of diaphragms divides the load of the pump, thereby increasing its longevity,” he added.

An artificial heart patterned after the cockroach heart addresses some issues with other artificial hearts as well as heart transplants; the main one is that a  Guha's Biventricular Pump will continue pumping even if one or more of its chambers fail for some reason. It will also prevent excessive blood recirculation and blood stagnation.

“With increased understanding of the heart’s functioning and continuing improvements in prosthetics, computer science, battery technology and fuel cells, a practical artificial heart may be a reality in the 21st century,” said Guha. 

The Biventricular Pump has already been tested on frogs and will be next tested in goats.


Telegraph via