Patent of the week-Total artificial hearts and cardiac assist devices powered and controlled by reversible electrohydraulic energy converters
From the early 1950’s to the late 1970’s over a hundred U.S. patents had been issued for inventions involved with artificial blood pumps, energy conversion systems to power these blood pumps, and methods of their control. Extensive animal experimentation had been conducted using some of these devices.
In the late 1970’s the longest duration during which the entire pumping function of the natural heart had been replaced by an internally implanted blood pump had been 184 days (six months) using the Jarvik-5 type of artificial heart.
Robert K. Jarvik had himself pioneered a few of advancements in such technology and after years of study came up with this invention upon which he obtained Patent Protection with the patent number US4173796A on 13th November 1979.
This invention was made with the support, from a grant by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Government of the United States of America, which granted a royalty free non-exclusive license to practice the invention for its own purposes for the duration of any patent which may issue therefrom.
It related to electrohydraulic energy converter systems, whereby electric energy from a power source, which may be a battery or other source, is converted into hydraulic power capable of actuating diaphragm, sack, axi-symmetric or other types of blood pumps.
Robert had several objectives in mind during this invention with a primary objective for it to be an acceptable, mechanical cardiac support system with minimum size and weight for long-term, permanent human implantation. This would provide a total artificial heart or cardiac support system which can be totally implanted with the exception of an external electrical power source such as a battery.