Physiological Controller

Along with our partners, the University of Pittsburgh and MedQuest Products (now World Heart Corporation), LaunchPoint completed the second phase of a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant is being used to develop control methods for rotary blood pumps.

These relatively new rotary blood pump devices offer several benefits compared to their pulsatile predecessors:

  • Smaller size
  • Greater efficiency
  • Smaller batteries
  • High reliability
  • More cost-effective

However, these new rotary pumps pose an exceptionally difficult challenge to control because of their sensitivity to circulatory load, and ability to draw blood under negative pressure. Unfortunately, developers have routinely underestimated the effort and resources required to address this problem, and consequently, devices that are now being implemented clinically do not have satisfactory control systems.

Key activities of this project included:

  • Validating and refining a mathematical model of rotary blood pumps
  • Developing a feedback control algorithm for rotary blood pumps that optimizes hemodynamics while avoiding suction (ventricular collapse)
  • Evaluating and optimizing the algorithm in-vitro
  • Validating the algorithm in-vivo
  • Integrating the algorithm into clinical hardware and evaluating in in-vivo trials