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How Motors Are Enabling a Pioneering Cardio Device

An intra-aortic pump delivered by catheter holds promise to help heart failure patients' hearts rest and heal. But it needed the right motor.

Qmed Staff

Procyrion Aortix
Procyrion's Aortix required a special type of motor to do its job. (Image courtesy of Procyrion

Houston-based Procyrion has an intra-aortic pump, presently in the preclinical stage, that is only 6 mm by 6.5 cm long and is actually deployed with a self-expanding anchoring system downstream of the heart in the femoral artery. 

The Aortix pump holds promise to reduce the heart's energy consumption by 39%, actually giving a heart the chance to rest and heal. Because the device is not replacing the heart, device failure would simply require another catheter-based procedure to replace it. 

But to create the type of pump they wanted, Procyrion's team needed a special motor. Here's how Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA) describes the work it performed for Procyrion to provide the miniature brushless DC motors the company needed:

Procyrion has been working with maxon for almost two years to develop a motor for this unique and demanding application. The basis for the Aortix device is a maxon EC6 motor with some customization including the electrical lead, shaft length, and bearing assemblies--all designed to make the pump durable and biocompatible. maxon also designed a high efficiency motor core for this application, which extends battery life and produces less heat so it doesn't adversely affect the circulating blood. In addition, maxon is working closely with Procyrion to implement a magnetic torque drive, so the motor could be mounted inside a hermetically sealed chamber. This configuration eliminates the possibility of blood entering the motor core. The magnetically coupled pump arrangement is a method sometimes used for giant pumps in the oil field, but because of maxon's breadth of experience across multiple industries, the company was able to help the Procyrion team successfully transfer this technology to a miniature scale medical application. 

(Check out Maxon at Booth #2348 at MD&M Minneapolis, September 21-22, 2016)

Check out a Procyrion video about the device:

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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