Cardiac Compression Devices: Alternative Technology and Innovative Concept

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Heart failure is a leading cause of death around the world. Heart transplantation is the only reliable therapy for improving functional capacity, quality of life, life expectancy, and limiting the options for heart failure patients. In fact, a large number of patients with severe heart failure in need of heart transplantation are unable to receive therapy with up to 30% mortality before a heart is donated. In recent decades, cardiac replacement and assisting therapies have presented promising outcomes to treat these end-stage patients as alternative solutions. These devices are capable of providing temporary to permanent, partial or full assistance. Such devices can be divided into two categories based on location and mechanism of augmentation: 1) devices exposed directly to blood including ventricular assistive devices (VADs) and total artificial hearts (TAHs) and 2) devices that augment cardiac output through compression of ventricles or another part of circulatory system with no direct contact to blood such as extra-cardiac compression devices (ECCDs). In recent years, novel ECCDs which compress tissue and muscles to indirectly assist blood pumping have been developed to circumscribe problems associated with blood-contacting devices and the risks involved with piercing arterial and ventricular walls. Not only do ECCDs aim to reduce risks from the patient and surgeon perspective, the complexity of engineering an intra-corporeal extra-cardiac device is also reduced.