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Heart

Not unlike the fire hydrant, the humble stethoscope is a device that has remained mostly unchanged for quite a long time. Colorado-based Thinklabs Medical, however, is out to change that. The company recently announced its One digital stethoscope, that can electronically amplify chest sounds by over 100x, and analyze that audio via a smartphone app. Read More
Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the first 15 minutes following a heart attack can be a literal lifesaver, greatly increasing the victim's chances of survival. However, many people aren't trained in CPR and even those who are can be hesitant to step up in the vital first minutes that can mean the difference between life and death. The Cardio First Angel CPR coach is a simple mechanical device that guides even an untrained person in properly administering CPR. Read More
In what could mark a significant breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully repaired damaged tissue in monkey hearts using cells created from human embryonic stem cells. The findings demonstrate an ability to produce these cells on an unprecedented scale and hold great potential for restoring functionally of damaged human hearts. Read More
While existing ultrasound technologies are able to identify plaque buildup on artery walls, determining when that plaque is at risk of breaking off, resulting in a heart attack or stroke, has proven a more complicated task. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University has now developed a dual-frequency ultrasound device that could help identify so-called vulnerable plaque and enable a more accurate diagnosis for at-risk patients. Read More
When someone has chronic venous insufficiency, it means that because of faulty valves in their leg veins, oxygen-poor blood isn't able to be pumped back to their heart. The George Washington University's Dr. Narine Sarvazyan has created a possible solution, however – a beating "mini heart" that's wrapped around the vein, to help push the blood through. Read More
When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things. Read More
When it comes to monitoring the electrical activity of the heart, or delivering electrical stimulation to it (as in the case of pacemakers), most current technologies rely on electrodes that make contact with the organ in just a few locations. That doesn't necessarily provide a very detailed picture of what's going on, nor does it deliver stimulation all that evenly. Now, scientists have created a sensor-laden three-dimensional elastic membrane that can be pulled over the whole heart, to provide a large number of contact points. Read More

3D printing technology has assisted in life-saving heart surgery performed on a 14-month old child, with engineers at the University of Louisville producing a printed model of the child's heart prior to the procedure that enabled doctors to better prepare for the operation. Read More

Imagine if you were trying to clear rubble out of a tunnel, but you could only see that tunnel from the side, instead of looking straight into it. Well, that's currently what it's like for doctors who are trying to see inside patients' blocked coronary blood vessels using ultrasound. Soon, however, a tiny catheter-based probe may give them a 3D real-time forward view from inside those vessels – or from inside the heart itself – not unlike that seen by the microscopic submarine crew in the movie Fantastic Voyage. Read More
A hole in the heart is never a good thing, so when an infant is born with such a defect, doctors have to act quickly to fix it. Unfortunately, both sutures and staples can damage the heart tissue, plus it takes too long to apply sutures. Existing surgical adhesives have their own drawbacks in that they can be toxic, and they typically become unstuck in wet, dynamic environments such as the heart. As a result, infants often require subsequent operations to "replug" the hole. Now, however, scientists have developed a sort of superglue for the heart, that quickly and securely bonds patches to holes. Read More
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