Gaza Doctor and Engineer Produce First Artificial Heart

Operation room at Al-Shifa Hospital. (Photo: via Maan, file)

A Gaza mechanical engineer and doctor have managed to produce the first locally made artificial heart in the Gaza Strip, which was tested on a lamb for six hours.

Dr. Mohammed Nassar, the head of the heart surgery department at Al-Shifaa hospital, said, “myself and mechanical engineer Mohammed Abuhibi managed to manufacture the first artificial heart in the Gaza Strip made of plastic.”

Nassar added, “we planted the artificial heart in a lamb last Thursday for six hours. It has proven effective and it worked well throughout the testing period.”

A man-made heart stroke was created to test the functionality of the tubes and various bodies of the heart, the doctor noted.

“We decided to stop the lamb’s actual heart completely to test the functionality of the artificial heart and I could say it functioned well with a percentage of 80%.”

The artificial heart was taken from the lamb for further improvements and testing, according to Nassar.

The project to produce the first locally-made artificial heart faced many difficulties due to the lack of needed materials as a result of the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza, yet the two Gaza professionals managed to overcome all obstacles, local media reported.

“We don’t have pets surgery rooms and we had to prepare a separate room for this surgery which was below international standards,” the doctor said.

“The Gaza Strip lacks a 3D printer needed to print the structure of the heart and we had to do this manually which took us six months,” he continued.

The idea to produce an artificial heart came to Nassar in 2013 when he witnessed scores of Gazans dying because they were unable to travel to plant artificial hearts abroad.

“The cost of artificial hearts worldwide is 400,000 USD on average and we managed to produce it with a total cost of 6,000 USD only,” he said.


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