Quintessential Ventricular Cannula

LaunchPoint Technologies, along with its partners at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, is currently completing a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. The work has involved designing a quintessential ventricular cannula in order to overcome several limitations inherent in existing cannula.

Disadvantages of Current Cannulae

Chronic mechanical circulatory support has been progressively migrating towards the use of turbo-dynamic blood pumps. For many reasons, these second- and third-generation devices offer advantages over the current pulsatile generation of ventricular assist devices. However, ventricular unloading with dynamic blood pumps can be markedly affected by the geometry of the cannula within the ventricular chamber. Due to the ability of these pumps to develop negative inflow pressure, existing cannula designed for passively-filling blood pumps can be predisposed to inflow occlusion by intraventricular anatomic structures and deleterious hemodynamic flow patterns. The consequences may be catastrophic: causing thrombosis, and attendant morbidity and mortality.

Previous research by Principle Investigator James Antaki has demonstrated the effectiveness of a trumpet shape for:

  • Stenting the ventricular apex
  • Assuring placement of the tip opening relative to the endocardial surface
  • Streamlining the blood drainage through the inflow tract

Project Overview

The practical, clinical implementation of this cannula has required additional development, specifically concentrating on the means of deployment. This Phase-I effort has sought to develop an efficient, practical, reliable cannulation method by systematic evaluation of two alternative deployment strategies. The design was performed with the assistance of computer-aided engineering tools, and evaluated in-vitro using flexible casts of both human and bovine ventricules. Final evaluation was performed within transparent casts by flow visualization to select the cannula that accommodates a wide range of ventricular anatomies, avoids blood stagnation at the apex, and minimally interferes with the papillary structures.

Phase I was funded through a $250,000 Department of Health and Human Services grant. The final deliverable is an optimized design suitable for in-vivo testing and preparation for mass production in a subsequent Phase II effort. The Phase II grant is pending.