Doctor's Name: 
Kung, Ethan, BS, MS
Clemson University


Collaboratively awarded through the CHF and AHA Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards

(Total Grant Amount $231,000; CHF portion = $115,500)

No blood pump device has been designed to help restore the circulation of single-ventricle patients back into a normal two-ventricle configuration. The main obstacles to developing such a device are lack of understanding of how to achieve good patient outcomes, and lack of a good way to directly test the device before putting one into a patient. This research will develop an engineering technology to provide a benchtop testing environment which captures human in-vivo responses. We will then use this system to investigate a feasible surgical installation of a pump device for single-ventricle patients, and obtain a set of device operation criteria to help boost the development of such a device.

We would like to identify an optimal surgical configuration for a pulmonary blood pump device in a single-ventricle patient, and quantify the resulting cardiovascular improvements. We are also interested to obtain specific operation requirements of the device under various metabolic states and pathological conditions. We will develop and apply a new engineering technology to investigate the dynamic interactions and feedback between device behavior and a patient's changing cardiovascular physiology. This technology will involve benchtop experiments using a "simulated patient" with no risk to any real patient. From these experiments, we hope to obtain critical information on how to properly design and install a pump device for single-ventricle patients.

A suitably designed pulmonary blood pump is the most promising therapeutic option for improving the quality and length of life for single-ventricle patients. Our goal is to aid the development process of such a device by providing a technology to realistically predict the device interactions with patient physiology, and use it to answer important clinical questions. A matured version of this technology also has the potential to transform the design and testing processes of a wide variety of cardiovascular devices and procedures, such as heart valves and bypass surgeries. A paradigm shift in patient management could be expected given the possibility to "try" a medical device implantation or surgical procedure for any specific patient before its actual deployment in the patient.

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