Does pulsatility matter in the era of continuous-flow blood pumps?

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Despite significant improved survival with continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), complications related to aortic valve insufficiency, gastrointestinal bleeding, stroke, pump thrombosis, and hemolysis have dampened the long term success of these pumps. Evolution has favored a pulsatile heart pump to be able to deliver the maximum flow at different levels of systemic vascular resistance, confer kinetic energy to the flow of blood past areas of stenosis and generate low shear stress on blood elements. In this perspective, we suggest that lack of pulsatility may be one factor that has limited the success of continuous flow LVADs and suggest that research needs to focus on methods to generate pulsatility either by the native heart or by various speed modulation algorithms.




Moazami, N., Dembitsky, W. P., Adamson, R., Steffen, R. J., Soltesz, E. G., Starling, R. C., & Fukamachi, K. (2015, August 1). Does pulsatility matter in the era of continuous-flow blood pumps? Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. Elsevier USA.

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