Arterial Sound Based Noninvasive Malrotation Detection of Rotary LVAD

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A number of advanced cardiovascular assist devices have been developed recently with the capability to prolong the life expectancy of patients with cardiac disease. To allow long-term use, it is necessary to assemble these devices using as few accessories as possible; however, a sensor for mechanical disorder detection is typically included to ensure mechanical reliability. Although a rotary left ventricular assist device (LVAD) has a simple mechanism, a malrotation caused by thrombogenesis can occur at any time. This situation could cause fatal damage to the cardiovascular circulation of the patient. In this study, we propose a simple, noninvasive method based on Korotkoff sounds, which would be able to detect the pressure–flow state during circulation supported by a rotary LVAD. Korotkoff sounds provide a means to noninvasively measure blood pressure in auscultation. We have found that the sounds are directly influenced by the pressure–flow state. We measured the arterial sound generated by an occluded brachial artery, as well as the Korotkoff sound generated during rotary LVAD circulation. To verify the effectiveness of the system, a circulatory simulator, rather than a human subject, was used. The arterial sound of several abnormal pressure–flow conditions was investigated. The simulator consists of a pulsatile blood pump, a compliance chamber, flow valves, a venous reservoir, and a rotary LVAD. Abnormal pressure–flow states are generated by simply changing the rotational speed of the rotary LVAD. We established the relationship between an abnormal pressure–flow state and the characteristics of the arterial sound, thus demonstrating that a malrotation of the rotary LVAD can be detected by the change of the arterial sound.

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