Development and Calibration of a Portable Controller for Adjustable Pulmonary Artery Shunt
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Control of Pulmonary Blood Flow (PBF) in newborn babies remains challenging after surgery for congenital heart disorders. According to multi-institutional data, the mortality after this complex surgery is 15%-20%. A leading cause of high mortality is the difficulty in maintaining balance between blood flowing into the body and the lungs. Control of flow can be improved with medical therapies that have unwanted side effects. As such, a mechanical blood flow control device is preferable. A Personal Computer (PC) based system is used at present that has issues of size and portability. Design and calibration of a smaller, portable version of the controller is desired and a 90% smaller controller is presented in this paper. Experimental results show that the controller can vary flow rate from 100% (fully open switch) to 20% (fully closed switch). A consistent flow rate is obtained using such a controller with minimal deviations from the desired flow (as low as 0.36%). This very specialized heart disorder condition occurs in about 1000 patients annually. As such, commercial companies find little motivation for investment and the obligation lies on non-profit institutions to take up such an initiative.