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Dale’s Daily Data: Human Heart

It’s an incredible machine and nothing we can manufacture comes close to how efficient it is. It’s your heart and every minute it beats 70 to 80 times – 100-thousand times a day and over a lifetime it’ll beat 3 billion times and pump 800 million pints of blood.

It’s just amazing how it works. You couldn’t invent anything more efficient. Your heart has two pumps, each made of two chambers. The right side pump takes oxygen-depleted blood from the body and pumps it into the right ventricle, which pumps it to the lungs. The left side pump takes blood from the lungs that’s been injected with oxygen, pumps it into the left ventricle, and it’s forced into the body.

The heart of an athlete can pump 6 to 8 gallons of blood a minute. Compare that to the best artificial heart which can pump only two and a half gallons of blood a minute and likely will last only 200 million beats or about five years. The technology we have to make an artificial heart is pretty incredible. A man-made heart is powered by a battery that either pumps a piston or a rotary valve immersed in fluid. The first artificial heart transplant recipient – Barney Clark lived for 112 days.

A man from England is the world’s record holder for living the longest with an artificial heart. He’d been given only weeks to live when he received his new heart and it extended his life by more than 7 years.

They were originally designed as a replacement heart – but because most patients reject them, they’re now used only as a bridge until a donated human heart can be transplanted.

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