A miniature intraventricular axial flow blood pump (IVAP) is undergoing in vivo evaluation in calves. The IVAP system consists of a miniature (13.9 mm) axial flow pump that resides within the left ventricular (LV) chamber and a brushless DC motor. The pump is fabricated from titanium alloy, and the pump weight is 170 g. It produces a flow rate of over 5 L/min against 100 mmHg pressure at 9,000 rpm with an 8 W total power consumption. The maximum total efficiency exceeds 17%. A purged lip seal system is used in prototype no. 8, and a newly developed “Cool-Seal” (a low temperature mechanical seal) is used in prototype no. 9. In the Cool-Seal system, a large amount of purge flow is introduced behind the seal faces to augment convective heat transfer, keeping the seal face temperature at a low level for prevention of heat denaturation of blood proteins. The Cool-Seal system consumes <10 cc purge fluid per day and has greatly extended seal life. The pumps were implanted in three calves (26, 30, and 168 days of support). The pump was inserted through a left thoracotomy at the fifth intercostal space. Two pursestring sutures were placed on the LV apex, and the apex was cored with a myocardial punch. The pump was inserted into the LV with the outlet cannula smoothly passing through the aortic valve without any difficulty. Only 5 min elapsed between the time of chest opening and initiation of pumping. Pump function remained stable throughout in all experiments. No cardiac arrhythmias were detected, even at treadmill exercise tests. The plasma free hemoglobin level remained in the acceptable range. Post mortem examination did not reveal any interference between the pump and the mitral apparatus. No major thromboembolism was detected in the vital organs in Cases 1 or 2, but a few small renal infarcts were detected in Case 3.
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