A soft robotic sleeve made of silicone could help a human heart keep beating, according to a new report published Wednesday.
For the millions suffering from heart failure and other cardiac issues, that could mean a beating heart without the blood clotting complications of the current mechanical heart pumps called ventricular assist devices, or VADs, according to a statement from the National University of Ireland Galway.
The research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was led by Ellen Roche of that university. It took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Made of soft fibers including silicone, the robotic sleeve bonds itself to the heart by wrapping around it, essentially becoming part of the beating organ as it moves in synch with it.
In doing this, it provides circulatory support for hearts not functioning properly, supporting blood flow through a sleeve that manages to not come in contact with blood, as explained in the study.