VCR ventracor limited

world's tiniest heart pump

  1. 2,129 Posts.
    This is possibly the most exciting developement in heart assist devices.
    It could well render LVAD's obsolete.

    Title of Project : Piezoelectric Cardiovascular Pump
    Investigators: Dr Freddy Boey, Dr Ma Jan, Dr Alfred Tok, Li Tao, Nathaniel Ng, Lim Yang Ling, Julian Chua, George Ong

    World’s Tiniest Heart Pump.

    Millions worldwide could benefit from this commercialised invention which reverses end-stage heart failure. Heart disease is among the top two killer in the world. In 2002 alone, 30 million people around the world had Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). In Singapore, 4,000 cases are registered annually. But things could change for the better.
    Assoc Prof Ma Jan and Prof. Freddy Boey from the School of Materials Engineering have patented a piezoelectric (“pressure-electricity”) heart pump, which has been commercially licensed to Orqis Medical Pte Ltd, an American biomedical company in Irvine, California. The pump is for treating patients with stage III and IV CHF.

    In CHF, stage III requires hospitalisation and surgery, while stage IV requires heart replacement and is usually the last stage of the disease. If left alone, stage III patients degenerate quickly to stage IV, which can then be treated only with costly invasive surgical devices, and usually with limited success. Patients at stage III when treated with the piezoelectric pump are able to recover and revert to stage II, which then can be treated with medication. The therapy works by using the pump alongside the heart to relieve it of a large part of its load, allowing it to literally rest enough for recovery to occur. This load reduction causes the return of hormonal balance in the heart; the enlarged heart shrinks back to its normal size.

    Four times smaller than conventional heart pumps.
    The piezoelectric heart pump, at 50g, is at least four times lighter than conventional heart pumps in the market and uses less than one watt of power. This means it can be inserted into the body without open-heart surgery. Unlike other pumps, it is totally non-metallic and can be coated with biocompatible materials. It also does not need bearings. These factors prevent complications from immunological rejection, thrombotic infection, and blood clotting. The pump, in fact, can be made tiny enough (less than 1mm wide and 1cm long) to be inserted into smaller veins to act as a “booster” pump that drives blood through the parts of the body starved of blood.

    Some four million heart patients worldwide could benefit from the invention. The market for treating CHF patients alone is no less than S$20 billion in the developed world. The team is collaborating with the California Institute of Technology to use the pump in other non-cardiovascular applications such as drug delivery for long-term pain management.

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