Speed modulation of the HeartWare HVAD to assess in vitro hemocompatibility of pulsatile and continuous flow regimes in a rotary blood pump

Jarod T. Horobin, Michael J. Simmonds, Deepika Nandakumar, Shaun D. Gregory, Geoff Tansley, Jo P. Pauls, Angela Girnghuber, Nicoletta Balletti, John F. Fraser

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Although rotary blood pumps (RBPs) sustain life, blood exposure to continuous supra-physiological shear stress induces adverse effects (e.g., thromboembolism); thus, pulsatile flow in RBPs represents a potential solution. The present study introduced pulsatile flow to the HeartWare HVAD using a custom-built controller and compared hemocompatibility biomarkers (i.e., platelet aggregation, concentrations for ADAMTS13, von Willebrand factor (vWf), and free-hemoglobin in plasma (pfHb), red blood cell (RBC) deformability, and RBC-nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity) between continuous and pulsatile flow in a blood circulation loop over 5 h. The HeartWare HVAD was operated using a custom-built controller, at continuous speed (3282 rev/min) or in a pulsatile mode (mean speed=3273 rev/min, amplitude=430 rev/min, frequency=1 Hz) to generate a blood flow rate of 5.0 L/min, HVAD differential pressure of 90 mm Hg for continuous flow and 92 mm Hg for pulsatile flow, and systolic and diastolic pressures of 121/80 mm Hg. For both flow regimes, the current study found; (i) ADP- and collagen-induced platelet aggregation, and ADAMTS13 concentration significantly decreased after 5 h (P<0.01; P<0.05), (ii) ristocetin-induced platelet aggregation significantly increased after 45 min (P<0.05), (iii) vWf concentration did not significantly differ at any time point, (iv) pfHb significantly increased after 5 h (P<0.01), (v) RBC deformability improved during the continuous flow regime (P<0.05) but not during pulsatile flow, and (vi) RBC-NOS activity significantly increased during continuous flow (15 min), and pulsatile flow (5 h; P<0.05). The current study demonstrated: (i) speed modulation does not improve hemocompatibility of the HeartWare HVAD based on no observable differences being detected for routine biomarkers, and (ii) the time-course for increased RBC-NOS activity observed during continuous flow may have improved RBC deformability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-890
Number of pages12
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • -Erythrocyte
  • -Hemolysis
  • -Mechanical circulatory support
  • -Pulsatility
  • -Rheology
  • -Rotary blood pump
  • -Shear stress
  • Ventricular assist device

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