We evaluated the effects of steady state flow and perfusion on end-organ function in a long-term calf model. The animal received a continuous-flow total artificial heart (CFTAH) that we created from two axial-flow ventricular assist devices. Pump flow, blood pressure, and other pump parameters were monitored throughout the study, as were arterial blood gas and hematologic values, including neurohormone levels. Some hematologic values were mildly abnormal transiently after surgery but returned to acceptable levels within the first week. During the 90-day study, the calf showed no signs of hemolysis or thrombosis. Its mental function remained normal, as evidenced by the animal’s interest in its surroundings and response to stimuli. End-organ and vasomotor function was not adversely affected by 90 days of steady state flow. This was the first study in which CFTAH support of an animal model was maintained for this duration.
From the Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas.
Submitted for consideration March 2013; accepted for publication in revised form September 2013.
Disclosure: This project was supported, in part, by NIH Grants R01HL085054 and R01HL090521. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Reprint Requests: O. H. Frazier, MD, Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, PO Box 20345, MC 2-114A, Houston, TX 77225-0345. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.