Ventricular Assist Device

Cardiovascular Disease

At a Glance

This ventricular assist device is made up of a flexible polymer involving prosthetic heart valves, hydraulic chambers and an artificial muscle (used to drive blood flow). Benefits Include: fewer adverse outcomes for patients, such a bleeding or thrombosis; requires less power to operate, allowing it to be battery operated with a simple control system; inexpensive to create; and is highly customizable.


Cardiovascular disease has remained the leading cause of death for over a century in the United States. One result has been an increasing number of ventricular assist devices (VADs) being utilized to treat patients with various forms of heart failure, affecting 23 million people worldwide. Continuous-flow VADs are the most commonly used and consist of a driveline connected through the skin of a patient to control a mechanical impeller rotating inside a housing unit to pump blood. Despite substantial improvements in VADs, a larger application of the technology has been limited due to clinically significant adverse event including bleeding and thrombosis.


The developed invention is a flexible VAD that mimics the dynamics of the embryonic heart to create a novel electrohydraulic driven Pulsatile Undulating Multilayered Pump (PUMP). This consists of a gelatin layer sandwiched between a flexible inner lumen and an outer flexible muscle. The artificial muscle will consist of a flexible inextensible shell made from a commercially available polymer. Two polymer layers will be thermally welded with specific designs to create pouches along the length and width. Separately, for the inner lumen, a strip of the polymer will be welded onto another polymer sheet, with the shape of three heart valve leaflets. This will be repeated for the other side of the polymer sheet. The sheet will be used as the inner lumen of the pump, while the leaflet-shaped geometry will serve as a heart valve in the final configuration. This sheet will be shaped into a cylinder, while the shorter outer artificial muscle will be wrapped around the inner lumen, leaving the valve outside of the artificial muscle area. Separate ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) will be affixed over the pouches on the polymer sleeve. The electrodes of the IPMCs will be connected to a power supply.


  • Fewer adverse outcomes for patients, such as bleeding or thrombosis
  • Requires less power to operate
  • Inexpensive to create
  • Highly customizable


  • Ventricular Assist Device
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Other blood pump application
  • Industrial applications requiring low shear stress
Last Updated: May 2022
Visual aid demonstrating how ventricular assist devices function

Available for Licensing


David Bark

Reference Number
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Steve Foster