Is Continuous Flow Superior to Pulsatile Flow in Single Ventricle Mechanical Support? Results from a Large Animal Pilot Study

Yasuhiro Fujii, Giuseppe Ferro, Hiroshi Kagawa, Luca Centola, Liqun Zhu, William T. Ferrier, Linda Talken, R. Kirk Riemer, Katsuhide Maeda, Teimour Nasirov, Bill Hodges, Saleh Amirriazi, Eric Lee, Donald Sheff, Judith May, Robert May, Olaf Reinhartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Durable mechanical support in situations of physiologic single ventricle has been met with little success so far, particularly in small children. We created an animal model to investigate whether pulsatile or continuous flow would be superior. Three 1 month old sheep (10-16 kg) were instrumented. Via sternotomy and with cardiopulmonary bypass, a large ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect were created. The left ventricle was cannulated using a Berlin Heart inflow cannula. This was connected sequentially to a continuous flow device (Thoratec HeartMate X, Pleasanton, CA) and to a pulsatile device (Berlin Heart Excor, The Woodlands, TX). Outflow was via a Y-graft to both aorta and pulmonary artery, striving for equal flow to both. Atrial filling pressures were controlled with volume infusions over a wide range. Under comparable loading conditions, significantly higher maximum flow was obtained by HeartMate X than by Excor (4.95 ± 1.27 L/min [range, 3.84-6.34 L/min] for HeartMate X vs. 1.80 ± 0.85 L/min [range, 1.01-2.7 L/min] for Excor; p < 0.05). Judging from this limited animal study, in single ventricle scenarios, continuous flow devices may achieve higher pump flows than pulsatile devices when provided with similar filling pressures. Their clinical use should be investigated. More extensive experimental studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-447
Number of pages5
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • animal model
  • axial pump
  • pneumatic pulsatile pump
  • single ventricle
  • ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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