Total Artificial Heart How Does It Work?
The total artificial heart replaces the lower chambers of the heart, called ventricles. Tubes called pneumatic drive lines run through holes in the stomach area to connect the total artificial heart pump to a machine outside the body called a driver. The total artificial heart then pumps blood through the major to the lungs and the rest of the body.
The total artificial heart has four mechanical valves that work like the heart’s own valves to manage blood flow. These valves connect the total artificial heart to the heart’s upper chambers, called the atria, and to the major arteries, which include the artery and the . Once the total artificial heart is connected, it acts like a healthy heart, allowing blood to flow normally through the body.
The driver powers and controls the total artificial heart. It is placed next to the bed when used in the hospital. When someone with a total artificial heart is outside the hospital, they use a portable driver that fits in a shoulder bag or backpack and weighs about 14 pounds. It can be recharged at home or in a car.
It may be helpful to understand how the heart works to understand how a total artificial heart works too.