Pump design could give new hope to heart patients

Apr 12, 2007

A new counter-flow heart pump being developed by Queensland University of Technology has the potential to revolutionise future designs of the mechanical heart. Lead researcher Associate Professor Andy Tan said the heart pump's innovative design was based on a doubleoutput centrifugal model that pushed the blood in a counter direction to ensure correct flow through both sides of the heart, and is the subject of a patent application.

"The counter-flow pump is a bi-ventricular assist device (BVAD), meaning it supports both the left and right sides of the heart simultaneously," he said. "But what's so groundbreaking is that it is the first device to combine the function of two pumps into one unit. Professor Tan said current double heart pump technology was too bulky because it required the implant of two pumps that worked independently.

"The problem with two pumps is that it requires different controllers and can potentially lead to an uneven blood flow.

"The concept of the counter-flow pump is that it has two independent impellers to simulate two pumps to augment the operations of the left and right ventricles but is essential only one. "Using independent impellers, the blood is able to flow at a higher delivery pressure as required by the left chamber of the heart, and a slower pressure as required by the right chamber of the heart."

Professor Tan said a shortage of heart donors and high rates of cardiovascular disease were driving scientists across the globe to develop the technology for a replacement heart. "Each year in Australia, 44 per cent of all deaths are related to heart disease," Professor Tan said. "In fact heart failure, stroke and vascular disease kill more Australians than any other disease group. To reduce the number of deaths, treatment is now focused on medical devices that can assist or totally replicate the function of the heart."

He said a heart pump capable of supporting both chambers would dramatically increase patients' chance of survival. "Clinical studies around the world have found that patients who received a permanent left heart pump (left ventricular assist device) reduced their risk of dying within one year by 47 per cent," Professor Tan said. "Unfortunately 25 per cent of these patients went on to develop right heart failure syndrome, infection and multiorgan failure. We have developed the design, and computer modelling has shown that it works."

Source: Queensland University of Technology

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0