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Pitt-led team gets $5.6 million contract for heart assist device for infants and toddlers
Date:2/4/2010

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 4 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and their collaborators have been awarded a $5.6 million federal contract to pursue the continued development of an implanted ventricular assist heart pump for infants and small children with congenital or acquired heart disease. The project aims to provide much-needed access to the sophisticated technologies that have saved the lives of older heart failure patients.

Harvey Borovetz, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering and a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is the principal investigator of one of four projects that comprise the Pumps for Kids, Infants and Neonates (PumpKIN) Preclinical Program, a $23.6 million effort sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He and his colleagues at Pitt, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Carnegie Mellon University, Goleta, California-based LaunchPoint Technologies, and Salt Lake City-based WorldHeart Inc., began designing and building their device, called PediaFlow, more than five years ago.

"We now have the opportunity to put PediaFlow through the necessary development and testing needed to proceed to clinical trials," Dr. Borovetz explained. "The aim is to begin human studies in three to four years."

According to the NHLBI, nearly 1,800 American infants die annually due to congenital heart defects. Another 350 develop severe cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure. Each year, approximately 60 children younger than age 5 waiting on the heart transplant list may die before a donor organ becomes available.

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, wh
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Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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