Optimization of an Axial Flow Heart Pump With Active and Passive Magnetic Bearings

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Optimization of a magnetically suspended left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is crucial. We desire a totally implantable, long-life LVAD that delivers the necessary flow rate, pressure rise, and blood compatibility. By using a novel combination of passive and active magnetic bearings (AMBs), we have developed an axial flow LVAD prototype, the LEV-VAD, which provides an unobstructed blood flow path, preventing stagnation regions for the blood. Our current effort is focused on the optimization of the magnetic suspension system to allow for control of the AMB, minimizing its size and power consumption. The properties of the passive magnetic bearings and AMBs serve as parameter space, over which a cost function is minimized, subject to constraints such as suspension stability and sufficient disturbance rejection capabilities. The design process is expected to lead to the construction of a small prototype pump along with the necessary robust controller for the AMB. Sensitivity of the LVAD performance with respect to various design parameters is examined in-depth and an optimized, more compact LVAD prototype is designed.

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