Design and Testing of a Linearly Actuated Pulsatile Pump for Ventricular Assist



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The prevalence of heart failure around the world has led clinicians and engineers to develop mechanical circulatory support systems. Most heart assist technology today is classified as continuous flow because blood is pumped in a steady stream. Though well tolerated in general, some patients experience complications that appear to stem from the loss of pulsation. To investigate the role of pulsatility, a linearly actuated pulsatile pump (LAPP) has been designed. Unlike early pulsatile devices that lacked robustness, the LAPP has a single translating part plus two prosthetic valves. To aid in the design process, numerical models were developed using the commercial software packages COMSOL and FLUENT. Bench-top testing loops were also developed. The LAPP has been shown to be capable of providing pulsatile flow at physiologically relevant pressures, and preliminary studies have been conducted to assess its damage to blood. A major outstanding concern is the excessive heat generation requiring external cooling in the present prototype. Despite the heating, the LAPP has potential to become a clinical research tool for studying pulsatility, if not as an approved ventricular assist device.



Ventricular assist device, Mechanical circulatory support, Pulsatile pump