One Thousand Dollar Assist Heart Pump for Patients from Developing Countries

Kun-xi Qian, * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal 28 June 2007 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874120700701010011


In spite of continuous improvements in device design and applications, the profound use of heart pump has been limited because of its high price. The available clinically applied heart pump costs mostly about 100 thousands US Dollars. The author has since long tried to develop a heart pump costing only 1000 Dollars for recovery or bridge to heart transplantation therapies. The device is a radially driven centrifugal pump with a brush-less DC motor and a streamlined impeller. Its bearing is rolling bearing using 4 to 6 needles, manufactured by special wear-proof polythene with super-high-molecular weight, thus the service life achieves more than 10 years. To avoid thrombus formation, a special purge system is introduced to the bearing, allowing the saline with heparin to be infused through the bearing into the pump. The bearing, therefore, keeps working in the saline, and absolutely no thrombus will be formed along the bearing. Animal experiments demonstrated that a 30 mL fluid infusion per hour is enough to prevent thrombus formation. With these improvements, the impeller pump has continuously run for 14 months in the laboratory, and no bearing wear can be measured. The device, weighing 150 g, is fully implantable, consumes approximately 9.6 W, delivers a 9Lmin-1 blood flow against a 120 mmHg mean pressure, and reaches a highest total efficiency of 24.7% for the motor (including the controller) and the pump. The device has been used in animal experiments together with an American artificial lung for more than one month in the University of Texas and also in human trials in the Taiwan University.

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