We have been developing a small, lightweight motor-driven pulsatile left ventricular assist device (LVAD) with a ball screw. The motor-driven LVAD consists of a brushless DC motor and a ball screw. The attractive magnetic force between Nd-Fe-B magnets (with a diameter of 5 mm and a thickness of 1.5 mm) mounted in holes in a silicone rubber sheet (thickness 2 mm) and an iron plate adhered onto the a diaphragm of the blood pump can provide optimum active blood filling during the pump filling phase. The LVAD has a stroke volume of 55 ml and an overall volume of 285 ml; it weighs 360 g. The controller mainly consists of a fuzzy logic position and velocity controller to apply doctors' and engineers' knowledge to control the LVAD. Each unit of the controller consists of a functionally independent program module for easy improvement of the controller's performance. The LVAD was evaluated in in vitro experiments using a mock circulation. A maximum pump outflow of 5.1 l/min was obtained at a drive rate of 95 bpm against an afterload of 95 mmHg, and active filling using the attractive magnetic force provided a pump output of 3.6 l/min at a drive rate of 75 bpm under a preload of 0 mmHg. The operating efficiency of the LVAD was measured at between 8% and 10.5%. While the LVAD can provide adequate pump outflow for cardiac assistance, further upgrading of the software and improvement of the blood pump are required to improve pump performance and efficiency.
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