: Over 70% cause of death of patient with Total Artifical Heart died from infection, why?



I get that coagulation and reject is a huge issue, that might lead to stroke and other cardiovascular issue, but over 70% died from lung disease, UTI, or sepsis. How is TAH causing this? Modern antibiotics can’t counter it?

In: Biology

If they were on immunosuppressants to help the transplant take – those are dangerous drugs. While on them you’re extremely vulnerable to infection, and if you pick up an infection while you’re on them, antibiotics are often not enough. The doctors have to decide if they keep the suppressants on while your enfeebled immune system tries to beat the bacteria, or take you off the suppressants and watch inflammation ruin the heart implant.

The likely reason for infection is probably because the TAH could have a physical problem such as plastic erosion, this could cause many other problems especially in the lungs and brain.

Another problem could be in the machine, there could be damage or a small opening for microorganisms to have easy access to the bloodstream.

Artificial implants are basically not accessible to the immune system since they are not alive and don’t have blood flow into them. This means that any infection can run amok within/on the device. They can often get biofilms, which is bacteria and slime they secrete that offer even more protection from the immune cells in blood flowing over the surface. Any small amount of bacteria that gets into the blood can seed the device. Once infected, the artificial heart can shed bacteria directly into the blood, leading to an overwhelming infection and death