The miniaturized pediatric continuous-flow device: Preclinical assessment in the chronic sheep model

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The Infant Jarvik 2015 is an implantable axial-flow ventricular assist device (VAD) that has undergone the major evolutionary design modifications to improve hemocompatibility. This study was conducted in anticipation of data submission to the US Food and Drug Administration to obtain Investigational Device Exemption approval.


The VAD was implanted via a left thoracotomy in Barbado sheep (n = 10, 26 (19–34] kg). Anticoagulation was maintained with coumadin, with a target international normalized ratio of greater than the individual sheep's baseline values. The VAD was managed at the highest possible speed as clinically tolerable. Complete necropsy was performed at the end of the study.


There were 2 early mortalities: tension pneumothorax (n = 1) and shower emboli of the fragmented myocardium (n = 1). The remaining 8 sheep (2 with 30-day and 6 with 60-day protocols) completed the anticipated study duration in excellent condition, with the 6 completing 60-day sheep showing appropriate weight gain during support. There were no signs of clinically significant hemolysis, with the final plasma-free hemoglobin of 2 (1–17) mg/dL. Necropsy showed old renal infarction in 7 sheep. Although thromboembolism can be the potential etiology, given the mild anticoagulation regimen, other sources of emboli were identified in 2 sheep (graft coating material and fragmented myocardium). Flow study demonstrated favorable increase in flow (up to 3.0 L/min) in proportion to change in pump speed.


This study has demonstrated that the Infant Jarvik 2015 VAD is capable of maintaining its functionality for an extended period of time with minimal hemolysis.

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