Critical components for novel direct cardiac compression device
Harrison, Jr., Lewis D.
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According to the American Heart Association, there are currently 5 million Americans diagnosed with congestive heart failure and that number is steadily increasing (AHA, 2003). The alarming problem of congestive heart failure and other related medical complications has created a need for devices that not only assist the heart but also help the heart to grow and remodel back to its normal configuration. Currently, there are several direct cardiac compression devices (DCCDs) that do assist the heart, however, they do not help the heart to grow and remodel correctly. Dr. John C. Criscione of Texas A&M University has proposed a novel DCCD, in which the compression of the device reinforces the natural curvature of the heart, helping it to grow and remodel correctly. It is hypothesized that with the support of the device, the cells of the heart will be stimulated to grow and remodel back to their normal size and return to their proper function. Two key components necessary to the novel DCCD were designed and constructed for this study. The first component was an adjustable outer shell which enabled the device to become smaller as the failing heart returned to normal size. The second component was an inflatable inner membrane that applies direct pressure to the outer wall of the heart in a way that promotes physiological stress and strain patterns.