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Increasing the Transmitted Flow Pulse in a Rotary Left Ventricular Assist Device

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Nick Gaddum, John F. Fraser, Daniel Timms

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)859-867
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number10
Published31 Oct 2012

King's Authors


Long-term rotary left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly employed to bridge patients with end-stage heart failure to transplant or as a destination therapy. Significant recent device development has increased patient support times, shifting further development focus toward physiologically sensitive control of the pump operation. Sensorless control of these devices would benefit from increased observability of the ventricular volume/preload to the pump, in order to regulate flow based on preload, imitating the native Frank-Starling flow control. Monitoring the transmitted flow pulse through the pump has been used as a surrogate for preload, although means of maximizing its transmission are not clear. However, it is known that a flat hydraulic performance curve of the rotary pump induces high changes in flow for a given change in pressure head. The aim of this study was to determine geometric pump parameters responsible for increasing this flow pulse transmission and to demonstrate this increase in vitro. The sensitivity of the performance gradient to blade angles, blade heights, blade clearance, and channel areas were studied. Resulting pressure head, flow, and hydraulic efficiency were analyzed with respect to textbook designed procedures. Then pumps with comparably "flat" and "steep" performance curves were used to simulate LVAD support in vitro over a range of pump flow rates to observe the transmitted flow pulsatility. It was found that an outlet blade angle of 90°, inlet blade angle between 25 and 45°, and large throat area generated a "flatter" performance curve. The transmitted flow pulsatility through a pump with a flat performance curve was 68% higher than that of a steep performance curve at a flow rate of 5 L/min. Substantial gains in the observability of LVAD preload/resident blood volume in the ventricle exist through the careful selection of specific pump geometries.

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