Pediatric patients with end-stage heart failure require mechanical circulatory support (MCS) just as adults do. In order to meet the special requirements for neonates' and infants' MCS, pediatric circulatory support devices must be compact with low priming volume, easily controllable with low flow, less traumatic for blood cells and tissues, and biocompatible with minimum anticoagulation. We have designed and developed a miniature rotary centrifugal blood pump, "TinyPump," with a priming volume of 5mL, which has already demonstrated its controllable performance for low flow and durability in vitro. To evaluate the feasibility of the TinyPump as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) suitable for neonates and infants, we have examined the biocompatibility and hemodynamic performance of the TinyPump in a pediatric animal model using Shiba goats. The TinyPump is a miniaturized centrifugal pump weighing 150g comprising a disposable pump head with a 30-mm diameter impeller having six straight-vanes and a reusable motor driver. The impeller in the pump head is supported by a hydrodynamic bearing at its center and is driven by radial magnetic force coupled to the motor driver. TinyPump implantations were performed in 22 Shiba goats (17 female and 5 male), with body weights ranging from 8.4 to 27.2kg. Under gas anesthesia, via left lateral thoracotomy, a 22 Fr inflow cannula was inserted through the left ventricular apex, while a 6-mm outflow graft was anastomosed to the descending aorta, which were then connected to a TinyPump mounted on the animal's back. Postoperative hemodynamic monitoring included heart rate, arterial and central venous pressure, pump flow, and rotation speed. Target pump flow in all animals was maintained at 0.9±0.1L/min, which is approximately half the normal pulmonary artery flow measured in control animals. Blood samples were collected to evaluate peripheral organ functions, hemolysis, and thrombosis. Goats were divided into three groups-acute phase (6h; n=4), subchronic phase (6h 2 postoperative days [POD]; n=11), and chronic phase (3 POD-16 POD; n=8)-based on their survival duration. In the early experiments, hemolysis and thrombi formation at the impeller bearing resulted in termination of the study. Subsequent modifications of the bearing design, pump housing design, and magnetic coupling force helped to minimize the hemolysis and thrombi formation, prolonging the survival duration of the Shiba goats to 2 weeks with minimum adverse effects on the blood components and organ functions. With further experiments and improvements in pump durability and hemocompatibility, the TinyPump can serve as a suitable circulatory support device for neonates and infants bridging to heart transplantation as well as to heart recovery.
- Left ventricular assist device
- Pediatric mechanical circulatory support
- Shiba goat