Can This Wirelessly Charging Heart Pump Reshape the LVAD Market?

The Fully Implanted Ventricular Assist Device was developed using technologies from Jarvik Heart and Leviticus Cardio.

Jarvik Heart and Leviticus Cardio have created a heart pump with wireless charging. The firms said the first patient had been implanted in Astana, Kazakhstan, with a wirelessly-powered ventricular assist device (VAD). 

The Fully Implanted Ventricular Assist Device (FIVAD) includes a Jarvik 2000 pump wirelessly using both internal and external components designed by Leviticus Cardio, which allows patients to walk around without any physical impediments for up to eight hours a day.

The device is also equipped with a back-up system, which would allow moving to traditional wired power in case the wireless system failed. The companies said while the back-up was tested during the implant procedure, it has not been needed since that initial implant test. 

Traditional heart pumps are charged using a drive line. The drive line, or power cord, sticks out from the patient’s abdomen and is either plugged into an outlet or connected to batteries. In addition, patients have to have backup batteries for the technology. 

As it stands now, Medtronic and Abbott Laboratories are the biggest players in the VAD space. The Abbott Park, IL-based company gained footing into the space when it picked up St. Jude Medical for $25 billion. Prior to the merger with Abbott, St. Jude acquired Thoratec for $3.3 billion, the company that developed the HeartMate technology.

Medtronic entered the space when it picked up HeartWare for $1.1 billion in 2016. At the time, it was the Dublin-based company’s biggest acquisition since it picked up Covidien for $43 million.

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