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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Mar;71(3 Suppl):S116-20; discussion S114-6.

HeartMate II left ventricular assist system: from concept to first clinical use.

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Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


The HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD) (ThermoCardiosystems, Inc, Woburn, MA) has evolved from 1991 when a partnership was struck between the McGowan Center of the University of Pittsburgh and Nimbus Company. Early iterations were conceptually based on axial-flow mini-pumps (Hemopump) and began with purge bearings. As the project developed, so did the understanding of new bearings, computational fluid design and flow visualization, and speed control algorithms. The acquisition of Nimbus by ThermoCardiosystems, Inc (TCI) sped developments of cannulas, controller, and power/monitor units. The system has been successfully tested in more than 40 calves since 1997 and the first human implant occurred in July 2000. Multicenter safety and feasibility trials are planned for Europe and soon thereafter a trial will be started in the United States to test 6-month survival in end-stage heart failure.

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