Total Artificial Heart How Does It Work?
The total artificial heart (TAH) replaces the lower chambers of the heart, called ventricles. Tubes called pneumatic drive lines run through holes in your stomach area to connect the TAH to a machine, called a driver, that sits outside your body. The TAH then pumps blood through the heart’s major artery to the lungs and the rest of the body.
The TAH has four mechanical valves that work like the heart’s own valves to manage blood flow. These valves connect the TAH to your heart’s upper chambers, called the atrium, and to the major arteries, the pulmonary artery, and the aorta. Once the TAH is connected, it acts like a healthy heart, allowing blood to flow normally through the body. The TAH is powered and controlled by a machine – the driver – that’s placed next to the bed for patients in the hospital. After they leave the hospital, people with a TAH 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.
To understand how a TAH works, you may want to read how the heart works.