There has been a remarkable development of medical devices over the last 30 years to support, and even substitute the heart in patients with advanced hear failure. However a clinically viable heart pump or any other high powered medical device should integrate a wireless power source to address the infection issues related to the drivelines currently in use to connect the implantable device with the external power source.
The incidence of heart failure increases rapidly with age and inactive lifestyles. As a consequence heart failure is a cardiovascular disease with both an increasing incidence and death rate worldwide. In the United States, approximately 670,000 new cases are diagnosed annually and approximately 300,000 patient deaths are attributed to advanced heart failure.
In response to this important clinical need, scientists at the Ulster University has developed a patent pending innovative technology for the production of a Transcutaneous Energy Transfer System. This collaborative project combines Ulster University’s Engineering Research Institute, the Centre for Advanced Cardiovascular Research (CACR) and the Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (NIBEC).
The most problematic is the use of a driveline that passes through the skin to an external power supply. Drivelines frequently become infected leading to very serious clinical complications. Additionally, newer prototype systems using wireless power transfer across the skin have significant limitations as considerable heat is generated, leading to skin and tissue damage, not to mention the discomforting feeling which degrades the quality of life of patients.
This product delivers an attractive proposition to companies involved in the manufacture of LVADs, as well as companies that manufacture power supply systems for medical devices. Although the primary objective is to disrupt the LVAD market segment, this technology will attract interest from manufacturers of other medical devices who are challenged by the combinational issue of heat generation and the requirement for medical implants that demand a high and constantly powered supply.