The International journal of artificial organs vol:25 issue:11 pages:1082-8
BACKGROUND: When we use rotary blood pumps as an assist device, an interaction takes place between the pump performance and the native heart function (native heart influences pump performance and vice versa). The interaction between native heart and rotary blood pump can be useful to predict recovery of the failing heart. METHODS: The rotary blood pumps used were microaxial catheter-mounted pumps with an external diameter of 6.4 mm (Impella, Aachen, Germany). The pump-heart interaction was studied in five juvenile sheep with a mean body weight of 68.5 +/- 8.7 kg. The pumps were introduced via the left carotid artery and placed in transvalvular aortic position. Recorded parameters were pump speed (rpm), generated flow (L/min) and differential pressure (mm Hg) obtained at high frequency rate of data recordings (25 sets of data per second). This allowed continuous analysis of the pump performance during cardiac cycle. Under clinical conditions the interaction was studied in a 60-year-old male, in whom the device was applied due to postcardiotomy heart failure after myocardial infarction. RESULTS: Heart-pump interaction was analyzed based on pump flow differential pressure. This relationship, analyzed continuously during cardiac cycle, presents as a loop. The dynamic contribution of the heart to the flow generated by the pump leads to continuous fluctuation in the pressure head and the creation of hysteresis. The improved function of the failing heart under clinical conditions after seven days of mechanical support was expressed by: increased hysteresis of the loop caused by increased gradient of flow generated during cardiac cycle, a more pronounced venticular ejection phase that indicates more dynamic heart contribution to the generated flow, and finally increased gradient of the differential pressure during cardiac cycle, caused predominantly by increased aortic pressure and decreased left ventricle pressure during diastolic phase. CONCLUSIONS: The heart-pump interaction based on the pump flow-differential pressure relationship can be useful in predicting the possibility to wean the patient from the device.