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Double heart pump design brings new hope

11th April 2007

A new design of pump could offer heart patients new hope.

The innovative design, known as a counter-flow pump, has two outputs which push the blood through both sides of the heart, while previous devices worked with just one side.

According to the designers, this is the first pump that combines the functions of two pumps into one device.

Previously, two pumps were too bulky and had to operate separately which can result in uneven blood flow.

Associate professor Andy Tan, lead researcher for the investigations, said of the new invention: "The blood is able to flow at a higher delivery pressure as required by the left chamber of the heart and a slower pressure as required by the right chamber of the heart.

"Studies….have found that patients who received a permanent left heart pump reduced their risk of dying within one year by 47 per cent.

"Unfortunately 25 per cent of these patients went on to develop right heart failure syndrome, infection and multi-organ failure.

"We have developed [this] design and computer modelling shows that it works."

Professor Tan believes a heart pump capable of supporting both heart chambers would dramatically increase patients' chances of survival.

The pump is currently under patent application.