This device is described here for historical purposes. It is no longer in use.
Clinical use of the Hemopump in patients began at the Texas Heart Institute in April 1988 as a short-term treatment (hours to days) for cardiogenic shock. Later, the device was evaluated as an alternative to standard cardiopulmonary bypass. Today, the Hemopump is no longer used, but researchers have applied its design to other circulatory assist devices.
The innovative design of the Hemopump included a tiny axial flow pump that provided up to 3.5 liters per minute of circulatory support.
The first patient treated with the Hemopump was a 61-year-old man with profound heart failure related to allograft (donor heart) rejection. His life was sustained with the Hemopump for two days, and he was eventually discharged from the hospital.
This catheter-mounted, intra-aortic axial flow pump is about the size of the eraser on an ordinary pencil. It was inserted through a small incision in the femoral or external iliac artery, advanced to the aorta, and positioned across the aortic valve. A screw element rotated 17,000 to 25,000 times per minute, drawing blood from the left ventricle and ejecting it into the descending aorta.
Power was provided through a percutaneous drive-line connected to an external electromechanical console. The console produced flows of up to 3.5 liters per minute and assumed up to 80% of the left ventricle's workload.
For more information, you can read an article entitled, "Circulatory Support of Cardiac Interventional Procedures with the Hemopump Cardiac Assist System [review]," which appears in Volume 84 (1994) of the journal Cardiology (pp. 194-201).
Updated April 2006