Mechanical circulatory support systems - A review

D. Mihaylov*, G.J. Verkerke, G. Rakhorst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a major health problem with a high mortality rate. Its ultimate therapy, heart transplantation, is limited by the shortage of donor hearts. Since decades researchers have been working to solve this problem by developing Mechanical Circulatory Support Systems (MCSS) that can replace or assist the failing heart. Short-term and intermediate-term ventricular assist devices are used nowadays frequently to bridge patients with severe heart failure to recovery. Long-term ventricular assist devices (VADs) and Total Artificial Hearts (TAHs) are used increasingly as a bridge to heart transplantations or as permanent circulatory support in patients with end-stage heart failure that are contraindicated for heart transplantation. The early TAHs and VADs were mainly driven from an external pneumatic drive unit. The latest generation TAHs and long-term assist devices are electrically powered, ultracompact, totally implantable, and have small wearable drive/control consoles, allowing patients to return to their daily activities. The article categorizes and reviews the development of MCSS, highlights the medical indications and contraindications of pump implantation, advantages and disadvantages of the various systems, and results of animal and clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalTechnology and health care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial heart
  • Circulatory support
  • Heart failure


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