ASAIO JOURNAL, vol.52, no.2, pp.145-149, 2006 (SCI-Expanded)
Continuous-flow pumps are small, simple, and respond physiologically to input variations, making them potentially ideal for total heart replacement. However, the physiological effects of complete pulseless flow during long-term circulatory support without a cardiac interface or with complete cardiac exclusion have not been well studied. We evaluated the feasibility of dual continuous-flow pumps as a total artificial heart (TAH) in a chronic bovine model. Both ventricles of a 6-month-old Corriente crossbred calf were excised and sewing rings attached to the reinforced atrioventricular junctions. The inlet portions of 2 Jarvik 2000 pumps were positioned through their respective sewing rings at the midatrial level and the pulseless atrial reservoir connected end-to-end to the pulmonary artery and aorta. Pulseless systemic and pulmonary circulations were thereby achieved. Volume status was controlled, and systemic and pulmonary resistance were managed pharmacologically to keep mean arterial pressures at 100 +/- 10 mmHg (systemic) and 20 +/- 5 mmHg (pulmonary) and both left and right atrial pressures at 15 +/- 5 mmHg. The left pump speed was maintained at 14,000 rpm and its output autoregulated in response to variations in right pump flow, systemic and pulmonary pressures, fluid status, and activity level. Hemodynamics, end-organ function, and neurohormonal status remained normal. These results suggest the feasibility of using dual continuous-flow pumps as a TAH.