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Alternative heart assistance pump




Sharifi, Alireza, author
Bark, David, advisor
James, Susan, advisor
Scansen, Brian, committee member
Popat, Ketul, committee member
Gao, Xinfeng, committee member

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On average, the human heart beats around 115,000, and pumps around 2,000 gallons of blood daily. This essential organ may undergo systolic or diastolic dysfunction in which the heart cannot properly contract or relax, respectively. To help hearts pump effectively should these types of failures occur, ventricular assist devices (VAD) are implemented as a temporary or permanent solution. The most common VAD is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) which supports the left ventricle in pumping the oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the aorta, and ultimately to the rest of the body. Although current VADs are an important treatment for advanced heart failure, generally VADS come with many complications and issues after implantation. These complications include incidents of hemolysis (tearing of the blood cells), thrombosis (clotting of the blood), bleeding (especially in the gastrointestinal tract), and infection at the driveline site. Specifically, the current continuous flow pumps are associated with a much higher incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding, myocardial perfusion, kidney problems, among others, compared with the earlier generation pulsatile pumps. However, the presence of several moving mechanical components made the pulsatile pumps less durable, bulky, and prone to malfunction, ultimately leading to favor toward continuous flow designs. The goal of the present study is to develop a novel heart assist pump, overcoming drawbacks to current commercially available pumps, by improving hemodynamic (blood flow) performance, pulsatility, and eliminating bleeding disorders. Our design will overcome the current pumps which suffer from non-physiological flow, and blood damage. The impact of this work goes beyond heart assist devices and would be applicable to other blood pumps. The fundamental biological and physical principles of designing a blood pump will be reviewed in chapter one. In addition, recent studies on current LVADs and the motivation behind these studies will also be discussed. Then, the idea of using a contractive tubular heart as an alternative pump will be presented in chapter two. To understand the pumping mechanism of the tubular heart, a detailed study on the embryonic heart is presented in this chapter. Subsequently, the effect of flow forces on blood cells will be studied in chapter 3. Moreover, the relation between flow regime and bleeding disorders have been studied in the same chapter. A discussion of our design, including the pump design, testing set up, experimental results will be presented in chapter 4. Finally, the limitations of the present study and future work will be presented in chapter 5.


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heart assistant pump
turbulent flow
zebrafish embryonic heart
polymer breakage
blood pump
VWF and hemodynamics


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