Pumps Inside Arteries Help Cardiac Patients

Machine Design

Cardiologists will soon be fitting patient's aortas with tiny pumps to help diseased hearts rest and heal, thanks to engineers at Procyrion Inc., Houston, who designed a circulatory-assist device. It’s called the Aortix™ and it accelerates native blood flow with entraining jets, creating better overall circulation. In one test, the device decreased the heart’s energy consumption by 39% by making it pump less hard and more efficiently while it’s healing.

The axial-flow pump, 6 mm in diameter × 65-mm long, is suitable for heart-failure patients too sick for medication, as well as active patients looking to prevent progressive heart damage. Other devices assist the heart but are bulky and must be surgically implanted. What’s worse, many replace heart function rather than support it, so device failure can be fatal.

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