Physiological principles of Starling-like control of rotary ventricular assist devices

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: This review explores the Starling-like physiological control method (SLC) for rotary ventricular assist devices (VADs) for severe heart failure. The SLC, based on mathematical models of the circulation, has two functions modeling each ventricle. The first function controls the output of the VAD to the arterial pool according to Starling’s law, while the second function accounts for how the blood returns to the heart from the veins. The article aims to expose clinicians to SLC in an accessible and clinically relevant discussion. Areas Covered: The article explores the physiology underlying the controller, its development and how that physiology can be adapted to SLC. Examples of controller performance are demonstrated and discussed using a benchtop model of the cardiovascular system. A discussion of the limitations and criticisms of SLC is presented, followed by a future outlook on the clinical adoption of SLC. Expert Opinion: Due to its simplicity and emulation of the natural cardiac autoregulation, SLC is the superior physiological control method for rotary VADs. However, current technical and regulatory challenges prevent the clinical translation of SLC of VADs. Further technical and regulatory development will enable the clinical translation of SLCs of VADs in the coming years.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2020


  • cardiac physiology
  • medical device control
  • physiological control
  • rbp
  • slc
  • Starling mechansim
  • VAD

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