You Can Live Without Heart Valves and Kidneys

Two new artificial organs rolled out in the past week are going to make things a hell of a lot easier for people with malfunctioning (or absent) heart valves and kidneys. The first device (pictured) is an artificial heart valve that can replace the part of your heart that pushes blood through your body. Being born without a heart valve (you have two, a right and a left) is a common congenital heart defect. Most people get it repaired with a cadaver valve — the valve from a dead person or a dead pig. Those work great, but are prone to infection. So this artificial valve could save lives. And the wearable artificial kidney is even cooler.

You Can Live Without Heart Valves and Kidneys

With this small, wearable device (see photo and diagram), people who suffer from kidney problems might never have to get dialysis again. The machine would do the dialysis for them.

You Can Live Without Heart Valves and Kidneys

Kidneys purify our blood, among other things, and so this device would do that job, sucking your blood out, passing it through a purifying filter, and then pumping it back into your body after removing toxic waste and passing that out to an external bag. The device from Xcorporeal is a bit bulky and awkward, but patients say it beats getting hooked up to a dialysis machine for 12 hours a week. Photo via Lancet.

Artificial heart valve and Wearable Artificial Kidney [MedGadget]