Thursday, November 09, 2006

Help for Failing Hearts

Here's an interesting new technology that we like: It's a heart assist device that is like a squeeze cup that helps out a damaged heart that's too weak to beat on its own.

The device from Myotech is a revolutionary way to keep hearts going while people wait for transplants, but is also is a way to give the heart some needed rest, so it can recover after a heart attack.

Air is injected through a tube that goes into the chest wall, and this inflates and deflates the heart cup.

Some other schemes to assist hearts, like VADs, use pumps and require the surgeon to cut into the heart muscle. Not so with the Myotech device.

There is an acoustics connection, of course. The sound of a heart beating can be used to track its health. Soundwave Research Laboratories makes ribbon microphones and all kinds of sensors that can be used to listen to the sounds of the human body, look at blood vessels in the heart for blockages, and someday used for diagnosing or locating other diseases too, like cancer, and also for therapy.

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