Performance of a 3-Bladed Propeller Pump to Provide Cavopulmonary Assist in the Failing Fontan Circulation

Amy L. Throckmorton, Kimberly K. Ballman, Cynthia D. Myers, Steven H. Frankel, John W. Brown, Mark D. Rodefeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: We hypothesized that a propeller pump design would function optimally to provide cavopulmonary assist in a univentricular Fontan circulation. Description: The hydraulic and hemolysis performance of a rigid three-bladed propeller prototype (similar to a folding propeller design) was characterized. Pressure and flow measurements were taken for flow rates of 0.5 to 3 liters per minute (LPM) for 5,000 to 7,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) using a blood analog fluid. Hemolysis testing was performed using fresh bovine blood for 2 LPM at 6,000 RPM for a 6-hour duration. Evaluation: The prototype performed well over the design operating range by producing a pressure rise of 5 to 50 mm Hg. Plasma free hemoglobin concentration remained less than 15 mg/dL. The normalized index of hemolysis peaked during the first hour, and then remained less than 10 mg/dL thereafter. Conclusions: A propeller pump has the pressure-flow characteristics and minimal risk of hemolysis and venous pathway obstruction which make it ideal for temporary cavopulmonary assist. This type of device has the potential to provide a new therapeutic option for patients with failing univentricular Fontan physiology as a bridge-to-recovery or transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1347
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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