Jarvik’s heart pump goes wireless

Data from the pivotal US trial of Jarvik Heart’s Jarvik 2000 ventricular assist device are expected shortly. But the device has just been used for the first time with a new, entirely wireless, power source, courtesy of Leviticus Cardio. Leviticus is developing a technology called coplanar energy transfer, which it says can wirelessly supply power to all available commercial VADs; the combination of this tech with the Jarvik 2000 is called the fully implanted ventricular assist device, or Fivad. The wireless power source is worn by the patient, while the current means of powering the Jarvik 2000 involves attaching wires to a small titanium post screwed to the patient’s skull; this is still incorporated into the Fivad as a back-up, though the companies say it has not been needed since testing during the implant procedure. Jarvik is some way behind the two major players in VAD technology, Medtronic and Abbott, whose devices have been on sale in the US for several years. The Fivad system system could give Jarvik an edge, but with only one implanted to date it will be many years before it will stand a chance of competing.

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