Liotta-Hall Intracorporeal Heart Pump


The ventricular assist device or the intrathoracic bypass pump as it was originally named was developed by a surgical research team led by Michael DeBakey (1908-2008), C. William Hall (1922-1992) and Domingo Liotta (1924- ) at Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The pneumatically powered pump is made of Silastic® and utilizes two ball-type valves to direct blood flow in one direction. It was the first bypass pump implanted in a human.

Heart assist devices or ventricular assist devices (VAD’s) are used to provide circulatory assistance to a weakened heart. The device helps pump blood through the aortic valve and into the aorta supplying blood to the rest of the body.

On July 18, 1963 this intrathoracic bypass pump was implanted into a 42 year old man who had undergone surgery to replace a diseased aortic valve. Hours later the patient suffered a cardiac arrest developing anuria (the decline of urine production) and fluid (edema) build up in his lungs. Although the pump help to relieve the edema the patients urine output never increased. The patient died four days after the pump was implanted.

Doctors considered the pump and other new mechanical devices such as the pacemaker and artificial heart valves successful, but they discovered that supplementing and indeed replacing the natural heart would not be easy. Among the problems which they encountered included damage to blood cells and the rejection of the device by the body. In the end physicians concluded, due to its long term support capabilities and the increase of blood circulation an internal artificial pump was feasible.

Date Made: ca 1963

Designer: Hall, C. WilliamLiotta, Domingo

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Texas, Houston

Subject: Artificial OrgansCardiologySurgeryMedicineArtificial Organs


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine, Health & Medicine, Artificial Hearts


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Liotta, Domingo. Assisted Circulation and Total Artificial Heart: Past and Present

Credit Line: Gift of Baylor University

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.M-10837Catalog Number: MG*M-10837Accession Number: 256189Catalog Number: M-10837

Object Name: intrathoracic pumpcardiologypump, heart

Physical Description: dacron (overall material)salastic (overall material)silicone (overall material)Measurements: overall: 1 1/8 in x 8 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 2.8575 cm x 21.59 cm x 8.89 cmoverall: 11 cm x 3.2 cm x 28.5 cm; 4 11/32 in x 1 1/4 in x 11 7/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1179432

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