A completely implanted total artificial heart (TAH) is under development by Nimbus, Inc., and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF). Key features of the system include an electrohydraulic energy converter, an automatic control system that produces a Frank-Starling response, and dual ventricles composed of graphite-epoxy and titanium with gelatin blood contacting surfaces. The system is controlled by a single substrate, hybridized microcircuit (the hybrid). Fabrication of the TAH control hybrid has recently been completed and testing begun. Its design emphasizes simplicity, reliability, and efficiency. Particular attention was given to optimizing thermal management. Externally controlled TAH systems have been used in eight in vivo experiments of up to 120 days' duration. In the last two of these experiments, a variable volume device was also implanted with excellent results. In vivo use of the system has demonstrated the Frank-Starling pump response, but the systems quickly reach maximum output with the bovine animal models. Human fitting studies, including adult patients undergoing heart transplantation, demonstrated satisfactory fit of the pump within the pericardium without compression of the vascular structures or chest wall. Measurements of chest circumference, plain chest films, and transesophageal echocardiograms should provide reliable predictions of pump fit in the majority of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering