, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 129-137
Date: 23 Jan 2013

Development of a novel drive mode to prevent aortic insufficiency during continuous-flow LVAD support by synchronizing rotational speed with heartbeat

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Aortic insufficiency (AI) is a serious complication for patients on long-term support with left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). Postoperative aortic valve opening is an important predictor of AI. A system is presently available that can promote native aortic flow by reducing rotational speed (RS) for defined intervals. However, this system can cause a reduction in pump flow and lead to insufficient support. We therefore developed a novel “delayed copulse mode” to prevent AI by providing both minimal support for early systole and maximal support shortly after aortic valve opening by changing the RS in synchronization with heartbeat. To evaluate whether our drive mode could open the aortic valve while maintaining a high total flow (sum of pump flow and native aortic flow), we installed a centrifugal LVAD (EVAHEART®; Sun Medical) in seven goats each with normal hearts and acute LV dysfunction created by micro-embolization of the coronary artery. We intermittently switched the drive mode from continuous (constant RS) with 100 % bypass to delayed copulse mode with 90 % bypass. Total flow did not significantly change between the two modes. The aortic valve opened when the delayed copulse mode was activated. The delayed copulse mode allowed the aortic valve to open while maintaining a high total flow. This novel drive mode may considerably benefit patients with severe heart failure on long-term LVAD support by preventing AI.