Currently, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, heart disease deaths each year as the number of more than 600,000. Heart failure is always after prolonged use, it can be replaced if there is a heart would be a better solution.
In 1967, researchers came up with a perfect solution: the use of nuclear energy to produce heart. Yes, you read that right, the use of nuclear energy is a heart.
Within a decade, the two sets of troops were pursuing the dream, namely the National Institute of the heart and the IAEA. They believe that nuclear energy is the only effective alternative treatment. There are ways to artificial heart for a good variety of energy, such as energy supply is one of the battery, but the battery has several serious problems: 1 will produce a lot of heat, causing the temperature is too high; need to charge per day; 3 people max. two years will change once again.
In contrast, nuclear energy can be used for about 10 years, and do not worry about that sort of thing needs to be charged. Nuclear plutonium-238 by the energizing heart, which is a radioactive element, in its decay process can be stabilized releases heat. This element has been used for satellite and navigation beacons. New Horizons (Pluto probe), Voyager (deep space probes) and curiosity (Mars) are using this energy.
Two research teams believe that the proper use of this energy can be achieved systemic blood transport.
Roadblocks on the road to success
The team faces many challenges. They need to create a mechanical pump body will not reject, but also a safe and effective engine to convert heat into mechanical energy. Two research teams were to come up with a different approach.
National Heart Institute hope to invent a heart to replace part of the function of the heart. This heart is composed of two parts, the first part is the part does not need nuclear energy will be able to pump blood, and the second part is a nuclear engine. This scheme also requires a beating heart, nuclear energy only play a supporting role.
The Agency hopes to integrate the heart invention, along with the ability to pump blood and supply energy. Such programs could completely replace the already broken heart.
After five years of research, we found that both programs have a problem. The Agency’s programs both cumbersome and inefficient; Programmes National Institute heart more, not only will overheat and cause blood clots block the pump. And these are just a design flaw, researchers still need to consider the ethical issues. Because no matter what program, we need nuclear power equipment on the human body. Although the radiation dose is very low, but long-term exposure to radiation, not a good thing.
Heart-shaped nuclear weapons
Many people believe that radiation may cause more diseases, such as leukemia. And very close to the heart of those who are exposed to radiation. Some even say that if magic catch criminals toward these patients, these will become the heart of nuclear weapons.
So, after 10 years of research, the development of nuclear energy heart idea was abandoned.
But researchers did not give up artificial heart. Some biotech companies are artificial hearts, hopes replacement therapy, prolong life. They have several requirements: only need to install an artificial heart in the body, and does not require batteries or external power. Currently, there are no manufacturers to design a heart meet this requirement.
The current artificial heart is to give patients more time, so that patients can wait for a donor heart. Before science and technology known as reality, we need a long process.