A Simulated Heart Attack To Build New Heart Medications

Is heart disease becoming a thing of the past?


Heart diagram blood flow en by ZooFari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

“Heart diagram blood flow en” by ZooFari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

By: Victor Cao, Journalist

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths in 2020. There are many mysteries relating to this disease, without any reliable and consistent cure. However, researchers at the University of Southern California have recently developed a device that simulates a heart attack. This device will allow scientists to know exactly how the heart was impacted throughout the change.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack usually occurs when blood flow is unable to reach the heart. Without this blood, the tissue inside the heart will lose oxygen and eventually die. These tissues can be vital to the heart and, unlike other tissues such as the liver, cannot be regrown. The main symptoms of a heart attack are pain and tightness near the chest area.

The Device:

This state-of-the-art device is a square, microfluidic device that allows gases to travel into the heart, creating extremely similar results to a real heart attack. The device is made from a rubber-like polymer, PDMS, with two tubes on opposite sides. This chip is made to have a similar format as the human heart. Cells from a rat’s heart are being used to conduct the experiment. The device will allow researchers to watch what happens inside the heart in real time, which cannot be done through normal animal experiments.

What Mysteries Could This Solve?

There are so many problems with the current understanding of a heart attack. Scientists are unsure of whether heart tissue suffers from scarring in the process, reducing blood flow for the patient’s entire life. Some other mysteries include the heart rhythm and an increase in strength throughout the attack.

Related Articles: