KARACHI: A senior cardiac and thoracic surgeon and his team at the Aga Khan University have invented a heart simulator which may go a long way in teaching resident doctors open-heart surgery and other related operations in much better conditions.

Dr Saulat Fatimi says since he presented the first prototype of pumping heart to Prince Karim Aga Khan, the AKU team’s aim was to develop such a simulator to teach residents procedures like coronary artery bypass, valve repair and replacements, surgeries for heart failure and congenital cardiac surgeries.

“Training residents on patients has been an international challenge and simulators in all specialties are the safest way to teach residents,” he said.

He added that the simulators in the market were artificial hearts or hearts which used pneumatic pumps to simulate beating. None could mimic the true heart mechanism and there was no fluid inside the heart to mimic blood. However, after years of failed and tiring attempts, “we are able to invent a beating heart system with magnetic pumps, fluid reservoir and timing device to produce systole and diastole in a cow’s heart”.

Dr Fatimi said it had been patented in the United States and they at the AKU were now ready to modify this to market it on a commercial basis. “Next step is to create heart cartridges with mitral and aortic valve diseases, septal defects, coronary artery lesions and other congenital cardiac problems. Our target market is university institutions with cardiac surgery residency programmes.”

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2022

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