The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that a local company HeartWare Ltd., is developing “the smallest of the third generation left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) available in the market, and being the smallest is very big news.” The newspaper also reports that the firm has implanted its HVAD, a left ventricular assist device, into a 48 year old Austrian patient with heart failure.
Here is how the company describes its technology:
HeartWare’s technology is based on the use of a wide bladed impeller designed to achieve optimum performance and haemocompatibility, size minimisation, long term reliability and overall system efficiencies.
The impeller is the only moving part in the HeartWare device. The impeller is held in place by a proprietary hybrid magnetic and hydrodynamic bearing system. The wide blades of the impeller contain large motor magnets, so the same space is used for pump and motor elements, achieving design efficiencies. The rare earth magnets in the impeller do not require electricity in order to induce their magnetic effect, thereby minimising the need for wires and connections, further simplifying the design and improving reliability. The result is a compact, energy efficient device, wearless, reliable and shock resistant, and designed to provide full cardiac output with optimal haemocompatibility.
Important additional features of the technology include two motor stators providing redundancy, a proprietary integrated inflow cannula enabling pericardial implantation, and electrical leads based on pacemaker technology.
Even though it is not clear to us how the device is attached to the heart or aorta (or else), here is some information about the HVAD:
With a volume of only 45cc, the HVAD is the smallest full output long term circulatory assist device under development. HeartWare believes the HVAD to be the only device of its type that can be implanted in the space directly surrounding the heart, rather than in the abdomen. This leads to significant potential advantages, particularly in terms of the ease of surgical implantation and consequent patient benefits.
We also understand that the company is trying to bring to the market another miniaturised ventricular assist device (named MVAD) and a pedi version, the PedVAD, for infants with heart failure.
The Sydney Morning Herald article…