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THROWAWAY HEART PUMP FOR INFANTS

New pump made for infant heart surgery


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they’ve developed a new heart pump that could help infants born with congenital heart defects survive necessary surgeries.

Scientists at Purdue University have created a “viscous impeller pump” for children born with univentricular circulation, a congenital heart disease that is the leading cause of death from birth defects in the first year of a child’s life, a university release said Tuesday.

The normal human heart contains two pumping chambers, called ventricles.

One circulates oxygenated blood throughout the body, while the other less-powerful ventricle circulates deoxygenated blood to the lungs.

Children born with univentricular circulation have only one functioning ventricle but can survive if blood vessels in the heart are restructured in a series of open-heart surgeries.

At least 30 percent of babies do not survive the surgeries, called the Fontan procedures.

To improve the survival rate, Purdue engineers and researchers developed the new mechanical pump to assist the heart during surgeries.

“A big advantage of this pump is that it gets delivered through the skin with a catheter without open heart surgery,” Steven Frankel, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, said.

“It is designed to be in the body for two weeks at most, almost like a disposable item,” Frankel said.

The researchers have received a $2.1 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to continue developing the heart pump, Purdue said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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