The History of Research on Ventricular Assist Devices and Total Artificial Heart

  • Luc M. Jacquet


This chapter will focus on research specifically aimed at the total or partial replacement of the heart’s function or that of one of its ventricles to support a failing heart for a prolonged period of time. The first report on the use a total artificial heart (TAH) to sustain life in an animal dates back to 1958. In 1969, the first human implantation of a pneumatic TAH was reported for bridge to transplantation and, after more than 10 years of research, a TAH as definitive therapy was used for the first time in 1982 without much success. About 20 years later, a totally implantable pump was released for clinical use. The initial feasibility study demonstrated that the device still needs improvements before a more widespread application can be expected. Most of the initial ventricular assist devices (VAD) were internal or paracorporeal pneumatically activated blood pumps and were temporarily used while waiting recovery of the heart’s function or as a bridge to transplantation. For long-term support, however, an internal energy converter was necessary. An electrically activated LVAD was designed and used for the first time in 1984. In the 1990s, two implantable, electrically activated VAD were extensively used as a bridge to transplantation with excellent long-term results that opened the way to their use as destination therapy. Smaller continuous flow pumps, either centrifugal or axial, were created to overcome the problems of the pulsatile pumps. Some of these smaller pumps are nowadays used for extended duration with excellent results. Continuous flow technology is now integrated into TAH that are investigated in animals.


Centrifugal Pump Ventricular Assist Device Artificial Heart Total Artificial Heart Axial Flow Pump 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Intensive Care UnitSaint-Luc University HospitalBrusselsBelgium

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