Introduction: Our group has developed a paracorporeal artificial lung (PAL) attached in a pulmonary artery (PA) to PA in series configuration to address profound respiratory failure and serve as a bridge to transplant and/or recovery. We recently designed, developed and converted our passive pre-PAL compliance chamber to an active, synchronized, counterpulsating assist device to relieve right heart strain and offset increased work placed on the right ventricle when the PAL is attached. In this study, we evaluated the safety and performance of both a valved and nonvalued optional active compliance chamber (OACC) in a PA-PA PAL for right heart assistance in normal adult sheep. Methods: Eleven sheep (30-50 kg) were divided into nonvalued OACC (n = 6) and valved (n = 5) OACC groups. To mimic pulmonary hypertension, a C-clamp was placed distal to the OACC-PAL and occluded until a 20% decrease in cardiac output (CO) was achieved. The OACC was activated, and right ventricular pressure (RVP), pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and CO were recorded. Results: All eleven animals tolerated the implantation of the OACC PAL. Activation of the OACC resulted in a significant increase in CO. Systolic and diastolic right ventricular pressure decreased in both groups. Lastly, counterpulsation increased the mean PAP in all animals and peak PAP reached 89 mmHg. Despite providing right heart assistance, synchronizing the counterpulsation was technically difficult, and the high peak PA pressures resulted in anastomotic bleeding in all animals and anastomotic breakdown in 4/11 animals. Conclusions: An OACC PAL perfused by the right ventricle applied in series with the pulmonary circulation reduces ventricular load and improves cardiac efficiency. These preliminary data suggest the potential of an artificial lung in unloading the strained right ventricle and acting as a bridge to transplantation. The augmented peak PA pressures, resulting in bleeding and anastomotic breakdown, and complexity in synchronizing the cardiac cycle with the pulsations of the augmented OACC, compromise this configuration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Safety Research
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing