Replacing an ailing heart with a man-made organ has been the dream of scientists since the time of Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance.
In 1964, Dr Michael DeBakey and colleagues appealed to President Lyndon B. Johnson to establish a total artificial heart (TAH) program. In 1982, Dr William DeVries implanted the first TAH, intended as destination therapy, at the University of Utah.
The TAH is a kind of device that can replace both the right and left ventricles, as well as the four heart valves, and occupies the space of the removed, failing human heart. According to its inventor, it can completely replace the human heart and save the lives of thousands of heart disease patients. The artificial heart refers to scientists in order to save the lives of more and more heart disease patients
In the case of incomplete technology, can artificial hearts effectively improve the quality of life?
An artificial organ made of artificial materials is used as a transplant and transplanted into another species, also known as xenotransplantation.
1) Violation of the law of natural evolution (principle);
2) The existence of interspecies infection problems;
If we look at the area of the artificial heart, it is accompanied by many physical complications：Patients who need an artificial heart have no right to make conscious decisions about accepting it. Other problems with artificial hearts include the burden of caregivers. Emotional, financial and social pressures have greatly increased these people. Caregivers almost always have to be on call, trained to respond to emergencies and know when to ask for help. Artificial heart is also accompanied by many physical complications. Patients are prone to infection and equipment failure. TAH is surgically implanted and takes 30-90 days postoperatively, with a mortality rate of 14 – 27%. The most common complication after TAH insertion is infection, whether local or systemic. The mortality rate of this patient population will increase, which in turn may reduce the quality of life.
Possible problems with transplanting artificial hearts
Under such situations, about 30% of patients eventually underwent withdrawal of TAH support. But nearly all of the patients from whom TAH support was withdrawn were unable to participate in end-of-life decision making.
Another consideration is sustaining low-quality life artificially at high cost whether it is the patient’s wish,
For society as a whole, the larger concern relates to the distribution of national resources. Whether the medical institution will decide whether to treat the patient based on the nationality, race and social status of the patient.
How artificial hearts can help humans
Compared with transplanted hearts, artificial hearts have irreplaceable advantages. For example, artificial hearts can be continuously updated under the research of science and technology, using science and technology to prolong life, and repairing with medical technology, the effect is better, transplanted heart has many uncontrollable factors, artificial heart is different, it is new, and it is qualified. Complications that exist afterwards and other effects that affect the continuation of life will be less likely. Good antithrombotic effect, no need for anticoagulation, greatly reducing anticoagulation-related complications. The use of artificial hearts can also provide a heart source for patients who need more heart transplantation, freeing up more space for medical resources
Clinical applications have shown that a fully artificial heart can replace natural heart functions, and it is feasible to use it to maintain a longer circulation, and its prospects are optimistic. The artificial heart relies on external energy to work to promote blood circulation. It can not only meet the power requirements, but also make it miniaturized to be fully embedded in the body, which can extend life with energy that can be used for several years.
When the patient’s heart has problems again, the artificial heart as a machine requires less time and resources to repair than heart treatment.
There is no doubt that the artificial heart is an advance of saving people and helping them return to normal life as anyone else .
As mentioned above, there is an ethical paradox related to the artificial heart, so the medical institutions should follow the widely held ethical principle permitting withdrawal of treatments, including LSTs, that are perceived by patients or their surrogates as non beneficial or burdensome.
Patient selection, informed consent, and treatment termination are the ethical and legal issues that are important at the bedside. Optimum patient selection requires clinical judgement, appropriate institutional review, and the elimination of socioeconomic barriers to transplant. Informed consent enables the patient to participate in the decision and to consider the question of treatment termination in a personalized fashion
If we focus on improving the quality of life for those in need (utilitarianism), there is no reason not to advance the development of artificial hearts.
Also, based on Kant’s Theory: Use modern technology to break the shackles of traditional religious thoughts, and constantly improve the technology, legislation and social care, to provide services for those who want to have a normal life opportunity. There is no doubt that this is Goodwill. No one has the right to prevent others from wanting to live a normal life
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