A synthetic material which does not adversely affect the blood is the most urgent need of investigators seeking to develop an artificial heart, according to Frank W. Hastings, MD, National Heart Institute.
"At the present time, we have no synthetic material which is completely compatible with blood," Hastings told the 17th annual Conference on Engineering in Biology and Medicine. "All of the materials available at this time tend to encourage the formation of clots and emboli, denature proteins, and destroy the cellular components of blood."
Hastings reported to the Cleveland meeting that in addition to the search for an inert plastic, a number of investigators are trying alternative approaches to the problem. One of these is to coat existing plastics with heparin sodium or a heparin-like material. It has also been shown that a negative electric charge on the walls and valves of the artificial heart tends to reduce clot