Patients with severe heart failure can require both a cardiac pacemaker to help the timing of the heart and a ventricular assist device (VAD) to physically help pump blood. UCI researchers have developed a method to synchronize the actions of a pulsatile VAD with a pacemaker in order to reduce heart stress and improve treatment effectiveness.
·Sustains proper synchronization in patients with pacemakers and VADs
·Reduces heart strain by ensuring the VAD does not oppose a weakened heart
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses an implantable device (pacemaker), which provides electrical signals when a heart’s natural pacemaker is dysfunctional or when the heart’s electrical conductance network is faulty.Roughly 3 million people worldwide have pacemakers.Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD), more commonly referenced as cardiac assist devices, are mechanical pumps that are used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart.VADs can be used for short-term or long-term treatments, and have increased in use to address a constant shortage of available heart transplant donors.
A timing issue, however, arises when a patient has both a pacemaker and a VAD.If the VAD fall out of sync with the pacemaker, blood flow can be impeded, exposing the heart to additional stress.UCI researchers have developed a method to synchronize a cardiac pacemaker with a pulsatile style VAD.The VAD and pacemaker are paired such that, after the pacemaker performs its sensing and pacing functions, the VAD receives and analyzes the signal produced by the pacemaker to begin its contraction cycle.This method helps to ensure the VAD’s contraction works in conjunction with the failing heart and not against it, helping to reduce strain on the heart and improve patient outcomes.