Air propelled heart pump

Margit Gföhler, project manager and associate professor at TU Vienna, said: 'The aim was to avoid haemolysis, which is always a risk when using electric pumps. Our design uses air propulsion that removes this risk and will hopefully act as a temporary solution for patients recovering from a heart attack or awaiting a transplant.'

The pump, which is around 5mm in length, consists of two separate parts that are divided by a magnetic bearing. On one side air propulsion is fed through a tube that drives a rotor. This rotor couples to a screw on the other side that works with the magnetic bearing to pump approximately 2.5 litres of blood around the body per minute.

While the mechanics of the device are proven, Gföhler said that the main difficulty will be in the development of components small enough to fit the model.

Source: 17 September 2009