Heart failure affects 64 million people worldwide, and is the cause of 1 in 50 deaths in Australia. Yet only 100 patients receive a heart transplant per year on average in Australia due to a donor heart shortage. For those on the waiting list, LVAD therapy is often the best alternative. Existing LVADs present three major challenges which include a high risk of infection requiring re-operations, psychological distress caused by interacting with a bulky, heavy and intrusive device; and lack of capabilities for telehealth patient support, which became especially problematic during the global pandemic.
HeartHub is a robust system of products designed to improve patient safety, usability, while removing the negative associations of a clinical device. The fully implantable system integrates emerging technologies, which include (1) untethered electromagnetic charging replacing the problematic driveline; (2) efficient rechargeable graphene-based lithium-ion batteries to reduce device size and weight; and (3) a cloud-based management system of patient information, offering remote monitoring and communication between the patient and the healthcare provider. HeartHub also features inclusive user controls and fail-safe mechanisms without compromising the compactness of the device.
With a tether-free HeartHub, healthcare costs can be significantly reduced as the risk of driveline infection and subsequent re-operations are minimised. Given no direct contact between the device and an open wound, this reduces the demands for material biocompatibility requirements, thus allowing recycled polycarbonate to replace virgin plastic for the housing of the device, reducing the product’s carbon footprint. Moreover, patients can more fully participate in daily activities such as exercising and showering without risks of complications. This can lead to healthier lives, positive mental health, thereby relieving stress on carers, families and friends.
HeartHub is a robust LVAD product system consisting of six components: a controller, a waist band, rechargeable batteries, a battery charger, a bedside controller charger and a monitoring app. Unlike existing LVADs, HeartHub features a compact set up, wireless information transfer, stress-free charging options and fail-safe emergency signals. The cloud-stored pump information received via Bluetooth from the implant to the controller can be accessed in real-time via a mobile or desktop app. In the case of a life-threatening emergency such as a pump failure, the controller will vibrate, sound an alarm, display flashing lights and display a notification on the patient’s personal device to call emergency services. The patient's pump information is then transmitted to the mechanical circulatory support coordinator for immediate analysis. In addition to the safety and functional benefits, HeartHub is also designed to improve the patient’s perception of therapy by building into the device the semantics of comfort, simplicity and approachability. Designed for manufacturing and assembly, HeartHub uses processes such as plastic injection moulding, silicone over-moulding and standard screws in order to reduce the amount of parts, thus improving the efficiency of assembly and enabling ease of maintenance.