The valvo-pump, an axial, nonpulsatile blood pump implanted at the heart valve position while preserving diseased heart muscle, has several advantages over an artificial heart replacement, including 1) a good anatomic fit to the natural heart, 2) less blood contacting surface, and 3) ease of implantation. The housing for the pump is a tube, 37 mm in diameter (maximum) and 33 mm in length. Within the housing there is an impeller with either 10 vanes (33 mm in diameter) or 5 vanes (22 mm in diameter). The impeller is connected to a samarium-cobalt-rare-earth magnet direct current (DC) brushless motor measuring 23.8 mm in diameter and 30.2 mm in length. Sealing is achieved by means of a magnetic fluid seal. A guiding wheel with 4 vanes is located behind the impeller. The pump was studied on a hydraulic mock circulatory system to evaluate its performance characteristics. A pump flow of 6.9 L/min was obtained at a pump differential pressure of 48 mmHg, and flow of 3.1 L/min was obtained at 58 mmHg. The valvo-pump can be made feasible by developing a small, high-output, power motor and an endurable seal, as well as by optimizing the impeller design.
©1991 American Society of Artificial Internal Organs