Project: Research project

Project Details


Our interdisciplinary group at The Pennsylvania State University has
developed a pneumatic artificial heart. The heart is FDA approved for,
and has had limited use as, a bridge to cardiac transplantation. Issues
regarding clinical use center around potential for hemolysis (not
problematic in calf studies), optimal valves (Bjork-Shiley convexo-
concave values are no longer available), thrombus that forms at the
suture line between the natural atrium and the atrial cuff, and pump size
(for smaller patients). We propose to evaluate hemolysis mechanisms, and
alternate prosthetic valves and to compare atrial cuff materials. We
recently completed the design and fabrication of a clinical heart for use
in smaller patients. We propose to perform appropriate animal implant
studies to evaluate this heart. Satisfactory completion of this phase
of the research will reduce blood damage and reduce the risk of
thromboembolism associated with the artificial heart and will provide a
second size artificial heart to encompass a broader range of patients.
Also included in the proposed work scope is a protocol for the continued
clinical use of the artificial heart as a bridge for transplantation in
appropriately selected patients (1 patient/year).

Spectacular progress is being made in the electric heart being developed
through this grant. Recent animal survival has been extended to 13
months with minimal device wear observed. We now propose a series of
logical advances to achieve a system that will be optimal for clinical
use (i.e. - implanted electronics, implantable battery, a minimal
diffusion compliance chamber, wireless electrical energy transmission via
inductive coupling and wireless transmission of messages to and from the
heart). The use of hybrid bearings for increased life and performance
will be evaluated. Motor Hall sensors will be relocated to reduce device
size and ease assembly. Control system enhancements to reduce power
consumption and eliminate Hall sensors entirely will be investigated.
Engineering studies include bench testing, fluid mechanics, and
reliability testing. Chronic animal implant studies, using the well-
understood, reliable bovine model, will include detailed hematologic
evaluation, and control system evaluation during rest, exercise and
pharmacologic intervention. Satisfactory completion of this project will
result in a useful artificial heart having a two year functional life,
which will be a useful therapeutic tool in certain patients with end-
stage heart disease who are not able to have heart transplantation.
Effective start/end date1/1/908/31/99


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


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