The Technion device gives the left chamber of the heart a helping hand in pumping blood, supplying up to 30% of the heart’s blood output. Twenty-two million people suffer from congestive heart failure – from 6% to 10% of the world’s population over the age of 65. Congestive heart failure is characterized by partial functioning of the heart’s left chamber, whose job it is to pump the blood to the body. Deterioration of the functioning of the left chamber results in not enough blood being pumped to the body. This affects quality of life, shortens the life expectancy and ultimately results in death. In the US, there are close to 5 million sufferers, of whom 500,000 die every year.

A new device to assist those with congestive heart failure developed at the Haifa Technion has the potential to save millions of those lives.

The new device, developed by Dr. Amir Landsberg of the Bio-Medicine Department at Technion under the auspices of the Technion subsidiary company he founded, Levram.The revolutionary device gives the left chamber of the heart a helping hand in pumping blood, supplying up to 30% of the heart’s blood output.

The device’s physiological operation is unique and innovative. “As opposed to existing devices, which do not work in concert with heart but rather are designed to replace it,” Dr. Landsberg told Israel21c, “the device we developed works with the heart muscle – reducing its work load and volume. In the long run, this unique form of operation is expected to moderate deterioration of the congestive heart and even improve its functioning.”

The new device is synchronized with the heart’s mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors. The device enables quick connection to the beating heart in just 30 seconds using a simple operation that does not interfere with the normal heartbeat.

According to Landsberg, the device is not complicated to insert. The small, relatively lightweight device is connected by a tube to the tip of the heart, via an implantation through minimal surgery using another device developed by the company. Implanted in the patient’s chest, between the lungs and the heart, the device is operated by internal batteries that are recharged by an external battery.

In para-clinical trials, the device successfully supported the blood circulatory system and improved heart functioning in serious cases of insufficient blood supply. The company’s next steps towards creating a marketable product are: miniaturization of the device and carrying out further para-clinical trials to test the device’s operations and its long-term influence on the workings of the heart and the circulatory system.

Landsberg’s work on the device will be published this spring in Circulation, the journal of the Israel Cardiology Association at its conference to be held in April, where he will be awarded a prize for his breakthrough