Working with the University of Swansea, Calon Cardio, a Welsh firm, has created the first UK-developed Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The MiniVAD is scheduled to begin a 50 patient clinical trial in late 2018, with a full clinical rollout planned for 2020. Calon Cardio’s miniature implantable heart pump is used to treat advanced chronic heart failure, with the LVAD augmenting the weakened heart and providing adequate blood perfusion to the rest of the body.
By reducing the load on the ventricles the device can then slow or stall heart failure progression, and prolong the life of patients waiting for a heart transplant. Calon Cardio’s device offers a number of advantages over existing LVADs, including less-invasive surgery during implantation, reduced risk of clot formation, and hopefully improved quality of life.
In particular, the MiniVAD system incorporates innovative technologies such as magnetic impeller levitation, which significantly reduces shear damage to the blood cells passing through the system.
The compact design of the MiniVAD combined with this improved blood handling also allows for earlier use of the ventricular assist device in a patient’s treatment pathway. Such early intervention could dramatically improve heart failure survival rates, which currently reveal that 40% of patients die within a year of diagnosis.