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Continuous pumps and artificial hearts

Now for a brief detour into the animal world, which includes humans. A story recently went up on slashdot describing a new generation of artificial hearts that are less bulky, last longer, and are suitable for more people. The reason it makes a website like slashdot is that it accomplished all that by using a continuous pump. Normal artificial hearts mimic our biological ones, pumping blood in in pulses. Think of it like waves crashing against the shore. The continiouspump is more like the water flow in a river, constant in both direction and pressure. Whyam I mentioning this? Because it is an example of what is natural and what saves peoples lives being very different. And if the continuous pump doesn’t sound that unnatural to you, consider that people with these new artificial hearts have no pulse. Nothaving a pulse might substantially reduce the risk of strokes (my own speculation). Strokes are caused by blood vessels bursting open in the brain, and a low constant pressure is going to put less strain on the walls blood vessels than high pressure pulse. It’s the different between pushing a wall and punching one.

Now for a brief detour into the animal world, which includes humans. A story recently went up on slashdot describing a new generation of artificial hearts that are less bulky, last longer, and are suitable for more people. The reason it makes a website like slashdot is that it accomplished all that by switching to a continuous pump.

Normal artificial hearts mimic our biological ones, pumping blood in in pulses. Think of it like waves crashing against the shore.

The continuous pump is more like the water flow in a river, constant in both direction and pressure.

Why am I mentioning this? Because it is an example of what is natural and what saves peoples lives being very different. And if the continuous pump doesn’t sound that unnatural to you, consider that people with these new artificial hearts have no pulse.

Not having a pulse might substantially reduce the risk of strokes (my own speculation). Strokes are caused by blood vessels bursting open in the brain, and a low constant pressure is going to put less strain on the walls blood vessels than high pressure pulse. It’s the different between pushing a wall and punching one.

On a less serious note, leaving aside the real issues with artificial hearts, consider the potential of marketing these pulseless hearts as elective surgery. One long and expensive surgery, a couple of months de-tanning, and all sorts of cheesy pick-up lines become available to a guy interested in seducing the vast numbers of vampire obsessed women in America. Something about checking for a pulse and femoral arteries suggests itself.

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