Challenge: Develop an improved, long-term, totally implantable ventricular assist device (VAD) based on licensed technology.
Design Concept: A small, totally implantable, pulsatile pump with no external venting that includes an integral frictionless hydrodynamic bearing to significantly reduce long-term wear, hemolysis, and thrombosis.
Solution: A ventricular assist mechanism was developed and prototyped that has a single rigid moving part that works in conjunction with two FDA approved mechanical heart valves, providing a pulsatile assist for an ailing ventricle. The single rigid moving part, a hollow piston, not only pumps blood but also provides a hydrodynamic means of lubricating itself with the patient’s blood. The two mechanical heart valves gate blood flow in a single direction and function as safety check valves for fail-safe operation. Unique to the design was the development of a novel multi-motion motor that rotates and translates the piston simultaneously for pumping action and to maintain the hydrodynamic blood bearing. To develop the VAD mechanism, our engineers utilized sophisticated 3-D Modeling, Finite Element Analysis and Control System Simulation tool sets for optimal performance.