Liotta-Hall Intracorporeal Heart Pump

Liotta-Hall Intracorporeal Heart Pump

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Usage conditions apply
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
intrathoracic pump
pump, heart
date made
ca 1963
Hall, C. William
Liotta, Domingo
place made
United States: Texas, Houston
Physical Description
dacron (overall material)
salastic (overall material)
silicone (overall material)
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 cm
overall: 11 cm x 3.2 cm x 28.5 cm; 4 11/32 in x 1 1/4 in x 11 7/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Baylor University
Artificial Organs
Artificial Organs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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