A survey conducted by Abiomed, Inc. revealed that 10 of 60 patients who received ventricular assistance via the AB5000 ventricular assist device (VAD) experienced hemolysis. The present study was conducted to investigate which factors influence hemolysis under pulsatile-flow VADs such as the AB5000. We compared the specificity of the AB5000 and its driving console with those of the NIPRO-VAD and VCT50χ under severe heart failure conditions using a mock circulatory system with a glycerol water solution. We used the mock circuit with bovine blood to confirm which pump conditions were most likely to cause hemolysis. In addition, we measured the shear velocity using particle image velocimetry by analyzing the seeding particle motion for both the AB5000 and NIPRO-VAD under the same conditions as those indicated in the initial experiment. Finally, we analyzed the correlation between negative pressure, exposure time, and hemolysis by continuously exposing fixed vacuum pressures for fixed times in a sealed device injected with bovine blood. Applying higher vacuum pressure to the AB5000 pump yielded a larger minimum inlet pressure and a longer exposure time when the negative pressure was under − 10 mmHg. The plasma-free hemoglobin increased as more negative pressure was driven into the AB5000 pump. Moreover, the negative pressure interacted with the exposure time, inducing hemolysis. This study revealed that negative pressure and exposure time were both associated with hemolysis.
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