A pump that gives hope to cardiac patients

Scientists are using a brushless maxon DC motor in a miniature pump that supports blood circulation. The pump is implanted non-invasively and provides the weakened heart with rest periods so that it can recover.

Chronic cardiac patients are eagerly following the development in Texas, where bioscientists have created the first cardiac support pump that can be inserted using a catheter and is intended for long-term use.

Aortix™ from Procyrion Inc. offers a treatment option for people with chronic heart disorders who cannot take medication due to the state of their health. Two million people are affected by this in the USA alone. Although the product is still in the testing phase, cardiologists will soon have the opportunity to treat younger cardiac patients with it to prevent further damage to the heart.

Anchors hold the pump inside the aorta
The intra-aortal pump supports the heart's natural function, offering an alternative to larger, surgically implanted cardiac pumps that remove the load from the heart completely. Use of such devices is often associated with risks. Aortix is different. With a diameter of 6 millimeters and a length of 6.5 centimeters, the pump can be inserted into the thoracic aorta through the femoral artery by a cardiologist using a catheter. Once it is there, small anchors made of a nickel-titanium alloy spread out independently to fix the pump to the wall of the aorta.

Organs receive better circulation
This is how it works: Aortix takes in a portion of the blood and ejects it through downstream-oriented openings. The jet from the pump is part of the natural blood flow, and its energy dissipates into the cardiovascular system. As a result, Aortix improves the blood supply to vital organs such as the kidneys. In a modeling scenario for chronic heart failure, Aortix was able to lower the heart's energy consumption by 39 percent, significantly accelerating the rehabilitation and recovery process in cardiac patients.

Over a period of two years, Procyrion and maxon jointly developed a motor for this unique and demanding application. A brushless EC 6 motor served as the basis. It was fitted with a highly efficient motor core to prolong battery life and reduce heat generation.

Technology from oil drilling applied to cardiac devices
In addition, a magnetic drive enabling the motor to be encased in a hermetically sealed chamber was developed in close cooperation between maxon and Procyrion. This prevents blood from entering into the motor core. The design is normally found in huge pumps used for oil extraction. As maxon engineers possess expertise across multiple industries, they were able to advise and support Procyrion's team in applying this technology to the cardiac pump.

The design is normally found in huge pumps used for oil extraction.

Each Aortix device is connected to a power cable, which is routed through a tunnel to a terminal. Alternatively, wireless power transfer is possible through the skin (transcutaneously) using a battery implant. The device currently runs for more than eight hours on a single battery. The external battery and the control unit can be replaced during operation. The Procyrion team also developed a charging system for the transcutaneous transfer of energy, which charges the battery directly through the skin. This construction considerably reduces the risk of infection.

 © maxon motor ag

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