Novel Cannula Design for Total Artificial Heart (TAH) Driver Unit

Project number: 
SynCardia Systems
Academic year: 

SynCardia is the manufacturer of the only FDA-approved Total Artificial Heart (TAH), used as a therapeutic bridge to stabilize and sustain patients until heart transplantation. The TAH system is composed of a surgically implanted, pneumatically driven replacement heart, an external driver that provides the pulsatile pneumatic pressure required to pump the patient’s blood, and a pair of cannula tubes that pass through the patient’s abdomen to connect the driver to the heart.

Project Scope:

SynCardia is in the process of developing the new Liberty Portable Driver system. The Liberty Driver will include a novel connector system to improve the safety and performance of the system, and to make it more user friendly. To this end the current cannula design will need to be revised and updated. Cannulas connecting to the driver must be flexible and strong enough to endure the stress of long-term patient use, reliable enough to perform life-sustaining function, all while remaining biocompatible and avoiding adverse effects on patient physiology. This project will specifically focus on the interface of the cannula with this new connector. The interface will need to adjust to exceed the performance (reliability, strength, biocompatibility, safety, and usability) of the current interface. The project will entail the following:
(1) Work with SynCardia engineers to develop a new cannula system that will connect the artificial heart with the new Liberty Portable Driver system.
(2) Produce prototypes of the new cannula system that can be integrated into a testing apparatus.
(3) Perform verification of the new design to demonstrate that it will exceed the performance of the existing cannula solution.
(4) Work with SynCardia’s quality and regulatory compliance systems in order to document the improved cannula for regulatory submission and integration into the TAH system.

This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Depending on the quality of your work and the demonstration of its effectiveness to regulatory authorities, your design, or a future iteration of it could be included in future TAH systems and used to sustain and improve patient lives.

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