Extraaortic counterpulsation using skeletal muscle powered ventricles (SMPVs) has been studied mainly for the purpose of assisting the systemic circulation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility of assisting both the systemic and pulmonary circulations using a single SMPV. An SMPV that counterpulses the systemic circulation is placed beside the right atrium (RA) or the right ventricle (RV), the former after procedures such as a Fontan operation, and the latter in cases of biventricular failure. Because the SMPV dilates passively during cardiac systole, it is designed to press the RA or the RV directly from outside. This study is a preliminary report, and only the ability of a specially constructed SMPV to dilate was assessed. Using seven dogs with heart failure, the SMPV dilated with an internal pressure of 88 mmHg and 1.0 cm, while the volume inside increased by 10.8 ml. From these results, it is suggested that the SMPV has enough dilating power to press the RA or to assist the RV while counterpulsing the systemic circulation.
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