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Diagram of the ABIOMED BVS 5000. 

The ABIOMED BVS 5000™ is used worldwide for temporary left, right, or biventricular (both ventricles) support in patients with potentially reversible heart failure. The BVS 5000 underwent preclinical studies at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) from 1986 to 1988 and was introduced for use in patients at THI in 1988. It was the first heart assist device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the support of post-cardiotomy patients (those who have developed heart failure as a result of heart surgery). Since that time, hundreds of patients have been sustained by the BVS 5000.

In addition to post-cardiotomy support, the BVS 5000 may also be used in the following cases:

  • Donor heart dysfunction or donor heart failure after heart transplantation.
  • Right-sided heart failure after placement of a left ventricular assist device.
  • Acute heart attack.
  • Acute heart disorders, such as viral myocarditis.
  • Trauma to the heart.
  • Disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).
  • In patients whose hearts have not recovered after temporary support, the BVS 5000 may  be used as a bridge to another device or as a bridge to heart transplantation.

This air-driven blood pump is placed outside the body (extracorporeally). A unique feature of this system is its dual-chamber design, which is similar to the natural heart. This design provides support for either the left or right ventricle, or both.

The Pump

The pump houses two polyurethane chambers: an atrial chamber that fills with blood through gravitational force and a ventricular chamber  that pumps blood by air-driven power. The atrial chamber is vented outside the patient. The ventricular chamber is connected to the power console by a 0.25-inch pneumatic (air) line. Two trileaflet valves separate the atrial and ventricular chambers. The pump can produce blood flow of up to 5 liters per minute. Cannulas of various designs (for blood drainage and return) are available to accommodate individual patient anatomy.

The Console

ABIOMED BVS 5000 ConsoleThe BVS 5000 console can support one or two blood pumps. It is fully automatic and compensates for changes both in preload and afterload. The left and right  sides are triggered independently of each other. A backup battery provides 1 hour of support, and an alarm will sound when only 10 minutes of power remain. A foot  pump can also serve as a backup power source. By using the console to limit blood flow, patients can be slowly weaned from support.

For more information, you can read the following articles, "The Abiomed BVS 5000 Biventricular Support  System: System Description and Clinical Summary," which appears in Volume 7 (1993) of the quarterly publication Cardiac Surgery: State of the Art Reviews (p. 309), and "Five-year clinical  experience with Abiomed BVS 5000 as a ventricular assist device for cardiac failure," which appears in Volume 16 (2001) of the publication Perfusion (p. 13).

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