An implantable rotary blood pump was developed to provide long-term mechanical right heart support for patients who have failing Fontan circulation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pump in vivo in a 30 day sheep study. Pump speed was set at 3,900 rpm for the duration of the study, and pump power was between 4.3 and 4.6 W. The pump inlet pressures for the superior vena cava (SVC) and inferior vena cava (IVC) were 14 ± 15 and 11 ± 15 mm Hg, respectively, over the duration of the study. Hematocrit remained stable at 30% ± 4%. Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) steadily increased from 30 s preoperatively to a high of 59 s on postoperative day 20, while prothrombin time (PT) remained at 20 ± 2 s for the duration of the study. The implantation and postoperative recovery were successful, and the animal demonstrated normal physiologic pulmonary and venous pressures and cardiac output. On pump inspection, the IVC and SVC inlets were completely clear of any deposits, but there were small thrombi (approximately 0.5 mm diameter) between each of the three rotor blades and along 20% of the parting line of the two volute halves. A complete right heart bypass was performed, postoperative recovery was successful, and the pump demonstrated adequate circulatory support and normal physiologic pulmonary and venous pressures. This study was the first successful test of a right heart replacement device in a chronic animal study.
From the *Department of Surgery, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
†Department of Comparative Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Submitted for consideration April 2018; accepted for publication in revised form August 2018.
Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
This project is funded, in part, under a grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Correspondence: Joshua Cysyk, Division of Artificial Organs, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.