Chronic survival of calves implanted with the DeBakey ventricular assist device. Academic Article uri icon


  • The DeBakey ventricular assist device (VAD) is a miniaturized, electromagnetically driven axial flow pump capable of generating in excess of 10 L/min output. The VAD was evaluated in 19 calves during experiments designed to test iterative modifications in the system and to determine the safety of the DeBakey VAD for intermediate to long-term implant. Five of the animals died or were euthanized during the perioperative period (i.e., Days 1-5) due to complications associated with bleeding (n = 3), sudden cardiac arrest (n = 1), or pump occlusion due to a muscle remnant associated with coring (n = 1). The remaining 14 animals survived from 7-145 days. Ten of the 14 animals survived 30 or more days, and 2 animals survived 93 and 145 days before elective euthanasia. Pump function was evaluated in the 14 calves that survived beyond the perioperative period. Pump output at implantation averaged 3 L/min while output at 100 days (n = 2) averaged 4.22 L/min. The electrical current did not change across time during the study, indicating normal operation of the bearings. Pumps consumed less than 10.5 W of power for all support durations. Hemolysis did not occur; the average daily plasma free hemoglobin varied from 2.0 to 8.0 mg/dl. Evaluation of serum biochemical data showed that implantation of the DeBakey VAD in calves with normal hearts did not impair end organ function; BUN, creatinine, and total bilirubin varied minimally within the normal range. The white blood cell count of implanted animals remained within the normal range throughout the study.

published proceedings

  • Artif Organs

author list (cited authors)

  • Fossum, T. W., Morley, D., Benkowski, R., Tayama, E., Olsen, D. B., Burns, G., ... DeBakey, M. E.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Fossum, TW||Morley, D||Benkowski, R||Tayama, E||Olsen, DB||Burns, G||Miller, MW||Franks, J||Martinez, E||Carroll, G||Edwards, J||Vinnerqvist, A||Lynch, B||Stein, F||Noon, GP||DeBakey, ME

publication date

  • August 1999