Heart and Blood Vessels
Devices that can perform the function of the heart are a triumph of artificial organ technology, and UPMC is a world leader in their use. Our artificial heart team helps people survive the long wait for a donor heart, helps sustain others who are not candidates for a heart transplant, and has even used these devices to help people recover from heart failure — making transplantation unnecessary. We're working on other solutions to heart failure, too.
We're conducting two clinical research studies of people with heart failure to see how their own stem cells rejuvenate their damaged heart muscle. This technique was pioneered by one of our physicians and has been used in other centers to restore some cardiac function to people with severe heart failure. We're also working on growing functional heart valves in the lab, and creating a heart "patch" made of a degradable scaffold. In addition, we've grown blood vessels in the laboratory; these may make it unnecessary to harvest vessels for coronary artery bypass surgery from patients' legs.