McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Peter Wearden, MD, PhD, Surgical Director, Pediatric Heart and Lung Transplantation, and Director, Pediatric Mechanical Cardiopulmonary Support Program, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is the co-recipient of a National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute award under its Small Business Innovation Research Program. The project, “Small Blood Pumps for Small Patients,” was granted to VADovations, Inc., a small, Oklahoma-based start-up company working to build a miniature ventricular assist device (VAD), a mechanical blood pump, which is smaller and lighter than ones currently on the market. Trevor Snyder, PhD, vice president of research and development at VADovations, is the project principal investigator and a former Senior Biomedical Engineer at UPMC and Research Assistant at University of Pittsburgh, Department of Bioengineering.
Dr. Wearden is also a member of the research team, the PediaFlow Pediatric VAD Consortium. PediaFlow, which is made of a titanium alloy and is about the size of an AA battery, incorporates innovative mag-lev technology. Blood is drawn through it by means of a high-speed rotor that essentially floats within its housing due to magnetic levitating forces. The rotor geometry, which is designed using state-of-the-art computer models and analyses, pulls oxygenated blood from the left ventricle through the device, returning the blood to the aorta and patient circulation. The flow rate of the PediaFlow can be varied between 0.5 to 1.5 liters per minute, suitable for the very smallest infants to toddlers.
“We believe the PediaFlow will be capable of replacing the heart function of our smallest patients,” explained Dr. Wearden. “Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been very successful in supporting older children and adults as a bridge to eventual heart transplantation, or, in some cases, as a temporary measure that allows the heart to rest and recover. But there currently are no FDA-approved LVADs for babies and toddlers.”
Innovation to Enterprise (05/16/2013)
Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology News (01/17/2013)
Oklahoma Bio News (page 1)
RegenerativeMedicine.net: Development of Heart Assist Device for Infants and Toddlers Gets $5.6 Million Boost (02/04/2010)