The grant was originally awarded in June 2008 under the NIH Bioengineering Research Partnership, a special program to encourage collaboration among medical, academic and engineering experts. The Total Artificial Heart project is a joint effort by Texas Heart Institute, University of Houston, Rice University and MicroMed Cardiovascular.

The project described was supported by Grant Number R01HL085054 awarded to Texas Heart Institute (THI) by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NHLBI or the National Institutes of Health.

“Two years ago, I went to Dr. DeBakey to discuss using two continuous flow VADs to create a total artificial heart,” said principal investigator Bud Frazier, M.D., chief of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation, chief of the Center for Cardiac Support and director of Surgical Research at the Texas Heart Institute. “We wanted to work with a local company and MicroMed’s VAD was ideal because of its miniature size. Dr. DeBakey said he was surprised he hadn’t thought of the idea himself.”

Dr. Frazier’s Total Artificial Heart uses two MicroMed HeartAssist 5 VADs. One VAD circulates blood throughout the body and the other circulates blood to and from the lungs.

“Over the last year, under Dr. Frazier’s leadership and direction, we focused on anatomical fitting, atrial cuff configuration and the experimental protocol to get repeatable and reliable results,” said Robert Benkowski, Chief Operating Officer for MicroMed Cardiovascular. “Our goals are to continue development of a ground-breaking algorithm for balancing the left and right pumps, to design an integrated controller that can run both pumps and to evaluate which physiologic sensors are necessary for the controller.”