Sewell Heart Pump


This heart pump was built by William H. Sewell (-1993) and William W. L. Glenn (1914-2003), and was intended for physiological experiments. The pump was made from an Erector© Set, glass cylinders, cannula and rubber tubing. All that remains today is the erector set.

Sewell built the pneumatically powered pump for his medical thesis at Yale University. He graduated in 1950. The object of the pump was to by-pass the right side of a dog's heart, and to look for any abnormalities the pump may have caused to the heart or the blood.

A cannula was inserted into the animal’s jugular vein and maneuvered into the right auricle and finally into the vena cava. Compressed air was used to pump blood through the dog's system. The first experiment took place in June 1949. The artificial heart worked and the dog made a complete recovery.

The total cost of the pump came to $24.80. The most expensive part at $9.00 was the erector set and motor.

Date Made: ca 1950Associated Dates: 1959 01 06 / 1959 01 06

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Connecticut, New Haven

Subject: MedicineInventionCardiologyScience


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


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Sewell, William H., Jr., M.D., and William W.L. Glenn, M.D.. Experimental Cardiac Surgery

Credit Line: Mrs. William H. Sewell

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.M-08015Accession Number: 223384Catalog Number: M-08015

Object Name: heart pumpheart, artificialpump

Physical Description: steel (overall material)glass (overall material)rubber (overall material)silicone (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3 3/4 in x 12 in x 14 1/4 in; 9.525 cm x 30.48 cm x 36.195 cmoverall: 9.5 cm x 24 cm x 35 cm; 3 3/4 in x 9 7/16 in x 13 25/32 in


Record Id: nmah_688804

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