An artificial organ may be referred to as any device, machine, or other material being used to replace the functioning of any faulty and missing organ or any other portion of the human body.
Artificial organs consist of complex medical devices possessing active biochemical or mechanical functions like kidneys, lungs, liver, neurosensory organs, or pancreas. These artificial organs can be surgically implanted and extracorporeal. However, at present, the range of devices constituting artificial organs is limited in clinical use. This is one of the most research-focused areas in medical institutes. Students are mostly engaged in research to discover devices having active biological, mechanical, and mass-exchange functions.
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An artificial organ is actually an engineered device that can either be implanted or integrated into a body to interface with living tissue and replace a natural organ, for duplicating or augmenting a particular function to bring back the patient to a normal life. Based on the materials used to make artificial organs, are divided into three categories:
You must also be wondering how long do artificial organs last?
The mechanical and biomechanical artificial organs can replace or repair the faulty/failed organs partially or temporarily whereas the biological artificial organs can completely or permanently restore the failed organs.
The most widely used technique to produce artificial organs is 3D printing/3D bioprinting. To date, several organs have been made and implanted into a patient’s body using this technology which includes the thyroid gland and patch of heart cells.
One of the other technologies to produce artificial organs includes a technique to grow bio-artificial kidneys. Other methods include using stem cells to improve the heart tissue, making titanium mechanical heart pump, tissue engineering, additive combined moulding, and decellularized organ regeneration.
In one of the laboratories in Switzerland, it was reported in 2017 that a silicone heart was successfully 3D printed which greatly resembled that of humans. This bioprinting technology has proved to be easy, convenient, reliable, and affordable method to counter donor shortages issues.
Thus, the future of regenerative medicine seems to be artificial organs that could easily, reliably, and affordably be printed on demand for patients.
The major implication with artificial organs is their maintenance throughout the recipient’s lifetime. With the advances in tissue-based, hybrid, and mechanical organs, ethical considerations are required to address the replacement frequency of obsolete organs, highly knowledgeable technicians on staff, and clinical providers for routine emergencies and examinations, policies and standards, commercial marketing, and privacy of information with respect to the tracking data of artificial organs.
The pacemaker was first developed and discovered in 1960. Ever since organisations are contiguously producing improvised models. Numerous standards and policies have been introduced to make sure that new pacemakers work in accordance with old pacemaker leads that are more difficult to replace. In the absence of this consideration, the health and lives of patients may be in huge danger.
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Galeon, D. (2017). Artificial Organs: We’re Entering an Era Where Transplants Are Obsolete. Health and Medicine. Wired, December 4th, 2017.
Polenakovic, M. H. (2020). Artificial Organs 2000 ESAO. prilozi, 41(3), 77-90.
Stuart, N. (July 2017). Soft artificial heart completes initial trials in Swiss project. The Engineer. Retrieved from theengineer.co.uk
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