march of the pulse-less cyborgs

A new type of pump to help failing hearts will undergo clinical trials in autumn 2004 in the UK. The pump has a curious side effect: people implanted with the device have no pulse.

What makes the VentrAssist different is that it only has one moving part, a spinning impeller that drives a continuous stream of blood. That means the pulse is replaced by a gentle whirling noise that patients describe as similar to the sound of a washing machine. More importantly, the device prevents blood from stagnating, reducing the risk of clotting.

Six copper coils within the device's titanium walls generate magnetic fields that make the magnet-cored impeller blades spin. The blades push blood out to the body while forming a high-pressure, liquid cushion that levitates the impeller and holds it steady.

"There is no predicted lifespan for VentrAssist because there are no wearing parts," says co-inventor of the device and company founder John Woodard. "It could be a hundred years, we don't know."

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11 Responses:

  1. injector says:

    I know that snail shell design from somewhere...

  2. suppafly says:

    sounds like perpetual motion

  3. naturalborn says:

    That article is misleading about how unique the pump is. There are several types of heart pumps which use archimedean screws. All of them result in the person not having a pulse.

    • baconmonkey says:

      L I T E R A C Y

      VentrAssist also has an advantage over its one competitor, a device called INCOR made by the German company Berlin Heart, which has a similar design, and it is already approved for use in Europe.

  4. mykwud says:


    That's a FEMBOT JUBBLY!!!!!

  5. greyface says:

    .... Except for the fact that they have a pulse.

    Most people check for a pulse at arteries, not right at the heart. Don't get me wrong, megneto-super-heart-of-doom is pretty cool, but I'd be more surprised to hear that the heart had become so effective that there was no need for arterial pumping. (replacing arteries with nylon tubes or something! too hell with arteriosclerosis, too hell with using leg-arteries for heart-bypass).

  6. phenyx says:

    Isn't this the same principle as Tip Magnetic Drive fans?

  7. renesq says:

    I'm just worried that I'd bleed to death kung fu movie style. No "blurt... blurt" for me, just one continuous stream. Ugh.