Every year worldwide 26 million people die because of heart failure. In Europe, 45% of the overall number of deaths is related to cardiovascular diseases. Despite all the technological advances, no final and optimal solution to the problem has been found yet. Indeed, heart transplantation is still the only way to guarantee a normal life to the end-stage patients. For these reasons, the HybridHeart project aims to develop an alternative solution to the already available ones, trying to combine the power of the soft robotics actuation, the advances in tissue engineering and the farsighted ideas of transcutaneous energy transfer systems, to guarantee biomimetism, biocompatibility and lower the risk of infections.

The main aim of this document is to integrate all the known physiological requirements, and all the expected technological constraints, that we consider to be needed decision-making factors during the development of an innovative generation of total artificial hearts. In every section. we tried to, not only present our main design goals, but also position them with respect to the ones characterizing the already developed, and sometimes commercialized, total artificial hearts.



The Hybrid Heart Consortium is organizing an internal seminar on the 29th of May 2019 at the TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands to bring together all partners and students involved in the project, and to share and discuss the progress of the development of soft robotics technology for cardiac support.

The day will start with presentations by all PhD students involved in the project. First, AMC and AMOLF will share the status of a systematic review of artificial heart technology that they are currently working on. After that, SSSA Pisa will present the status of their work on the soft McKibben actuators that, following a biomimetic approach, will be placed in a soft matrix to develop a soft pumping heart. Next, AMOLF will present their work on the robust soft sensing and control technology that they are developing using soft fluidic networks instead of electronic circuits. Following these presentations on the soft robotic technology, we will continue with presentations focusing on the anti-fouling and tissue-engineering coatings that are being developed at TU Eindhoven.

Additionally we host an invited talk about fluidics and fluid mechanics applied to cardiac support and transcutaneous energy systems, by prof Marcel Rutten, assistant professor at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering, research group Cardiovascular Biomechanics, which will be followed by a tour to show his lab and his custom-made mock circulation apparatus.

Importantly, we will ensure fruitful discussions during the day to streamline efforts between partners, and to identify missing links that need further attention. Next to creating room for debate, this will be achieved by organizing a hands-on practical anatomy session in the laboratory in order to get deeper understanding of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, and by providing a specific session focusing on IP strategy hosted by dr. Marc Roelofs, IXA Amsterdam.

A news article was published on the frontpage of  the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf, highlighting our effort to develop a fully artificial soft heart. See this link for the article.

We have had a fruitful consortium meeting @AMOLF on January 25th. Besides presentation of all work package leaders and a lab tour organised by the Soft Robotic Matter Group, we also enjoyed a visit from Nik de Bont discussing potential materials that can be used for our Hybrid Heart.

The HybridHeart consortium met at the The BioRobotics Institute Polo Sant’Anna Valdera (PSV), in Pontedera just outside Pisa, on the 5th September 2018 for the 1st Partner Meeting. All partners were present and the consortium was updated on progress made to date. The consortium were also given a tour of the BioRobotics Institute.

Dr. J. Kluin (1971) has been appointed professor of Translational Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Medicine.

Jolanda Kluin’s research focuses on translational research in cardiothoracic surgery. True translational cardiothoracic research involves the whole spectrum, from molecular biology, computational modelling, engineering, and preclinical animal studies to clinical studies and finally epidemiological follow-up studies. Besides fundamental research on the cellular and molecular level, collaboration between cardiac surgeons on one side and computational and engineering expertise on the other leads to innovations that improve the care of patients with heart disease. By planning and conducting the proper studies and trials, Kluin aims to translate laboratory findings to clinical practice.

As professor at the UvA, Kluin’s primary focus will be on regenerative medicine, congenital cardiac surgery, heart failure and valve surgery. This includes heart valve tissue engineering, the development of a soft robotics total artificial heart and long-term clinical follow-up studies on aortic valve repair surgery. She will build bench to bedside research lines on these topics. These lines are truly translational in the sense that they will include molecular biology, computational modelling and engineering, preclinical animal and clinical studies, as well as epidemiological follow-up studies.

About Jolanda Kluin

Kluin has been a staff member at the Amsterdam University Medical Center’s (Amsterdam UMC) department of Cardiothoracic Surgery since 2015, where she currently holds a post as congenital cardiothoracic surgeon. From 2006 to 2014, she was a staff member at Utrecht University Medical Center (UMC Utrecht). She was trained in Rotterdam where she obtained her doctorate cum laude.

Kluin is the recipient of, among others, prestigious grants from the European Union (Future and Emerging Technologies), the Netherlands Heart Foundation (CVON) and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). She is the recipient of various awards and publishes extensively in international peer-reviewed journals. In addition, she is reviewer for many international journals and acts as adviser to the Ministries of Health of Great Britain, Ireland, Czech Republic, Germany and France on the awarding of grants. She has been a faculty member of many international meetings on cardiothoracic surgery and collaborates with scientists, engineers, cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons from around the world.