Due to the serious damage to the heart muscle, persons with chronic heart failure frequently require a cardiac transplant. As these patients wait for a transplant, LVADs or Left Ventricular Assist Devices are often used to support the heart in pumping blood across the body.
Also, these devices are widely used in the short term to aid the hearts of patients who have undergone heart surgery. Besides, they are a long-term alternative for patients with heart failure but are unable to receive a transplant.
According to Greg Arber from Corvion, there is still a greater need for more LVADs. From around 100,000 to 300,000 people who need LVADs, only 10,000 are implanted in patient’s hearts annually. Until restrictions are eliminated, the LVAD market will continue to expand slowly.
Arber further said that there are only two devices that have been licensed for use at the moment. They both come in the form of rotary pumps with moving impellers that drive blood through an artificial valve from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta part. Both designs are inserted around the heart and involve a driveline to connect the compressor to an electrical source.
Some new designs are in the works, using either a vibrating diaphragm pump or a rotary pump. However, he says that these techniques are either inefficient and noisy and increase the risk for pump thrombosis.