Continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) reduce arterial pulsatility, which may cause long-term complications in the cardiovascular system. The aim of this study is to improve the pulsatility by driving a CF-LVAD at a varying speed, synchronous with the cardiac cycle in an ex-vivo experiment. A Micromed DeBakey pump was used as CF-LVAD. The heart was paced at 140 bpm to obtain a constant cardiac cycle for each heartbeat. First, the CF-LVAD was operated at a constant speed. At varying-speed CF-LVAD assistance, the pump was driven such that the same mean pump output was generated. For synchronization purposes, an algorithm was developed to trigger the CF-LVAD each heartbeat. The pump flow rate was selected as the control variable and a reference model was used for regulating the CF-LVAD speed. Continuous and varying-speed CF-LVAD assistance provided the same mean arterial pressure and flow rate, while the index of pulsatility doubled in both arterial pressure and pump flow rate signals under pulsatile pump speed support. This study shows the possibility of improving the pulsatility in CF-LVAD support by regulating pump speed over a cardiac cycle without compromising the overall level of support. IPEM.
- Flow rate control
- Arterial pulsatility
- Ex-vivo experiment
- Varying speed over a cardiac cycle