THI and the artificial heart
Dr. O. H. "Bud" Frazier has virtually dedicated his entire career to developing mechanical heart assist devices that have already saved and improved many lives. In recent years, he has been joined by innovative and dedicated THI physician-scientists like Dr. Billy Cohn in refining and developing new cutting edge technology in this field. In sum, the THI team has led the world for the last half-century in the push to develop a viable, durable total artificial heart.
In 2012, with another milestone leap forward toward that goal, the team is now working with Dr. Daniel Timms, a talented young biomedical engineer from Australia, who has designed a device to support or totally replace the heart. Called the BiVACOR, the machine is small, lightweight and deceptively simple. It uses a magnetic field, a spinning disc and centrifugalforce to pump blood. Because there is only a single moving part and no friction, we expect it to be extremely durable.
Our team is now working to refine and test the device in order to have it ready for possible human clinical trials in only a few years.
The Texas Heart Institute is a world leader in the development, testing and application of heart assist devices. Our goal for the surgical research conducted here is to develop and determine the best assist device to use for each individual patient. Devices may be referred to as mechanical assist devices, ventricular assist devices (VAD), left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), total artificial hearts (TAH), or simply heart pumps. The adjacent list describes some of the devices currently in use at THI as well as those of historical interest and those in the research and development stages.