Growing numbers of people are waiting for heart transplants. And engineers are developing miniature pumps known as ventricular assist devices to help. Small enough to fit inside the patient’s body, these pumps act like a second heart, boosting blood circulation and taking some of the load off the ailing organ. But David Bull, a surgeon at the University of Utah’s school of medicine says the pumps could help repair hearts too. Cardiac stem cells capable of regenerating heart tissue are naturally found in the blood stream in small numbers. Bull and colleagues have designed a pump able to capture and culture those cells, and inject them into the heart to stimulate repairs. The hope is that this would regenerate the heart sufficiently for the pump to eventually be removed.
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