Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Sewell Heart Pump

Sewell Heart Pump

Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
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.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
heart pump
heart, artificial
pump
date made
ca 1950
associated dates
1959 01 06 / 1959 01 06
place made
United States: Connecticut, New Haven
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 cm
overall: 9.5 cm x 24 cm x 35 cm; 3 3/4 in x 9 7/16 in x 13 25/32 in
ID Number
MG.M-08015
accession number
223384
catalog number
M-08015
Credit Line
Mrs. William H. Sewell
subject
Medicine
Invention
Cardiology
Science
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Artificial Hearts
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Good morning, According to a poster-display on the wall of Yale-New Haven Hospital, (Formerly Grace New Haven) the dog, named Beau, "The Research Dog Hero of the Year" lived on 17 years after Sewall's pump was removed from its one hour journey. This perhaps would re-categorize the use of the pump as a successful use on a living being.

Add a comment about this object