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J. Med. Devices. 2017;12(1):011001-011001-7. doi:10.1115/1.4038221.

Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction has limited the effectiveness of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) therapy in some heart failure (HF) patients. Intravascular pumps can provide adequate circulatory support without the need for extensive operations. The development of an intravascular right ventricular assist device (RVAD), called the cavo-arterial pump (CAP), is presented. Two prototypes of the CAP were developed to demonstrate the feasibility of providing adequate pulmonary support and to demonstrate the feasibility of using axial magnetic couplings for contactless torque transmission from the motor shaft to the pump impeller. The CAP utilizing a direct drive mechanism produced a maximum pressure of 100 mm Hg and a maximum flow of 2.25 L/min when operated at 24 kRPM. When a magnetic drive mechanism was used, the overall flowrate decreased due to a loss in torque transmission. The magnetic drive CAP was able to operate up to 18.5 kRPM and produce a maximum flowrate of 1.35 L/min and a maximum pressure difference of 40 mm Hg. These results demonstrate that the CAP produces sufficient output for partial circulatory support of the pulmonary circulation, and that axial magnetic couplings can help to eliminate the sealing system needed to isolate the miniature motor and bearings from blood contact.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Med. Devices. 2017;12(1):011002-011002-7. doi:10.1115/1.4038222.

This paper presents the design of a mechanically driven artificial speech device to be used by laryngectomees as an affordable alternative to an electrolarynx (EL). Design objectives were based on feedback from potential end users. The device implements a mainspring powered gear train that drives a striker. The striker impacts a suspended drum-like head, producing sound. When pressed against the neck, the head transmits sound into the oral cavity, allowing the user to produce intelligible speech. The dynamics of the vibrating head and sound pressure levels (SPLs) produced at the mouth were measured to compare performance between the device and a common, commercially available EL. The results showed comparable performance and sound output.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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