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Cardiac pump

A cardiac pump or cardiac bypass pump or heart-lung machine temporarily takes over the function of breathing and pumping blood for a patient.

It generally has two parts, the pump and the oxygenator.

The pump is usually several motor-driven rollers that perstaltically massage a tube made of silicone rubber. The massage pushes the blood through the tubing. This is commonly referred to as a roller pump. Another type of pump is a centrifugal pump. The blood enters a small centrifuge, and propels the blood forward via centrifugal force. The oxygenator varies, but usually is a passage through a silicone-membrane simulated lung known as a true membrane oxygenator.

Cardiac pumps are most often used in heart surgery, so that a patient's heart can be disconnected from the body for longer than the twenty minutes or so it takes a prepared patient to die. Although unprepared patients get brain damage in three to four minutes, a patient can be prepared by cooling and drugs so that no damage will occur for twenty minutes or more.

The perfusionist opearates the heart-lung machine.

Cardiac pumps are also sometimes used to keep babies with birth defects alive, or to aerate bodies with transplantable organs.

Chronic use of cardiac pumps is contraindicated because the pressure profile of most practical pumps is believed to cause circulatory damage to the brain, especially in extended use. The pumps generate continuous pressure. When this pressure is set high enough to aerate tissues in the foot, it can easily damage tissue in the brain. Likewise, if set low enough to avoid damaging the brain, it often under-aerates some part of the body, such as the feet.

In France, emergency medical teams (SAMU) use a different kind of portable cardiac pump which stimulates blood circulation by suction. This is used primarily for treating heart attack victims.

Russell M. Nelson worked on the team that developed the first heart-lung machine.

Dr. John H. Gibbon Jr. perfected the first truly practical heart-lung bypass machine and performed the first successful surgery with it in May 1953 in Philadelphia.

 

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