AT THE HEART OF THE MATTER
[Daily Mail-Friday, September 11,2008]
Artificial muscle 'cures heart rhythm defect'
AN ARTIFICIAL muscle that could offer hope to sufferers of a common heart problem has been developed by scientists.
The implant, called the Atripump, fits on the outside of the heart and applies pressure to keep it beating at the right rate.
It could treat
a debilitating heart rhythm disorder.
Britons suffer the condition , including
It occurs when the upper chambers of the heart are out of sync -resulting in a dangerously
FAST HEART BEAT.
Although not fatal, it can cause fainting, heart failure and blood clots, increasing the risk of
Common atrial fibrillation treatments include
Dr Piergiorgio Tozzi, a cardiac surgeon of Vaudois University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland , said he had developed the Atripump for patients who do not respond well to existing treatments.
the device is made of a domed membrane embedded with wires made from nitinol, a metal alloy used in spectacle frames and internal tubes.
The wires shrink when a small current passes through them, casing the dome to contract,
New Scientist magazine
When the current is off, the wires relax and the dome expands. the two-inch wide device is powered by an internal battery that can be topped up outside the body.
Dr Tozzi said the swelling and contraction of the dome could stop the heart from beating too fast
Although several years from being tested on people, experts believe the
offers hope to patients.
British Heart Foundation
[08450 70 80 70]
has questioned whether the device would be any more effective than a