The development and investigation of a novel pulsatile heart assist device

  • Ahmad Md Khudzari

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) contributed to almost 30% of worldwide mortality; with heart failure being one class of CVD. One popular and widely available treatment for heart failure is the
intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP). This heart assist device is used in counterpulsation to improve myocardial function by increasing coronary perfusion, and decreasing aortic end-diastolic
pressure (i.e. the resistance to blood ejection from the heart). However, this device can only be used acutely, and patients are bedridden. The subject of this research is a novel heart assist
treatment called the Chronic Intermittent Mechanical Support (CIMS) which was conceived to offer advantages of the IABP device chronically, whilst overcoming its disadvantages. The CIMS
device comprises an implantable balloon pump, a percutaneous drive line, and a wearable driver console. The research here aims to determine the haemodynamic effect of balloon pump
activation under in vitro conditions. A human mock circulatory loop (MCL) with systemic and coronary perfusion was constructed, capable of simulating various degrees of heart failure. Two prototypes of the CIMS balloon pump were made with varying stiffness. Several experimental factors (balloon inflation/deflation timing, Helium gas volume, arterial compliance, balloon pump stiffness and heart valve type) form the factorial design experiments. A simple modification to the MCL allowed flow visualisation experiments using video recording. Suitable statistical tests were used to analyse the data obtained from all experiments. Balloon inflation and deflation in the ascending aorta of the MCL yielded favourable results. The sudden balloon deflation caused the heart valve to open earlier, thus causing longer valve opening duration in a cardiac cycle. It was also found that pressure augmentation in diastole was significantly correlated with increased cardiac output and coronary flowrate. With an optimum combination (low arterial compliance and low balloon pump stiffness), systemic and coronary perfusions were increased by 18% and 21% respectively, while the aortic end-diastolic pressure
(forward flow resistance) decreased by 17%. Consequently, the ratio of oxygen supply and demand to myocardium (endocardial viability ratio, EVR) increased between 33% and 75%. The increase was mostly attributed to diastolic augmentation rather than systolic unloading.
Date of Award12 Sept 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGeoffrey D Tansley (Supervisor)


  • mechanical heart assist device
  • arterial compliance
  • counterpulsation
  • diastolic augmentation
  • endocardial viability ration

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