Technical Feasibility and Design of a Shape Memory Alloy Support Device to Increase Ejection Fraction in Patients with Heart Failure

K. M. Aarnink, F. R. Halfwerk (Corresponding Author), Salah A.M. Saïd, J. G. Grandjean, J. M. J. Paulusse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Heart failure is increasingly prevalent in the elderly. Treatment of patients with heart failure aims at improving their clinical condition, quality of life, prevent hospital (re)admissions and reduce mortality. Unfortunately, only a select group of heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction are eligible for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy where 30–40% remain non-responders and need left ventricular support.
The aim of this study is to investigate if a shape memory alloy (SMA) is able to increase the ejection fraction of a mono-chamber static heart model by 5%.
A pediatric ventilation balloon was used as a heart model (mono-chamber). Flexinol ©, a SMA, was placed around the heart model in multiple configurations and activated using pulse width modulation techniques to determine influence of diameter and configuration on volume displacement. Furthermore, pressure within the heart model was measured with a custom-made pressure sensor.
SMA with a diameter of 0.38 mm, placed in a spiral shape and activated with a duty cycle of 80% and a frequency of 50/min gave the highest ejection fraction
increase of 3.5%.
This study demonstrated the feasibility of volume displacement in a static heart model by activation of SMA-wires. Configuration, duty cycle, frequency, pulse
intervals and diameter were identified as important factors affecting the activation of SMA-wires on volume displacement. Future research should include the use of parallel SMA-wires, prototype testing in dynamic or ex vivo
bench models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular engineering and technology
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Design configuration
  • Ejection fraction
  • Heart failure
  • Shape memory alloy
  • Cardiac support device


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