In order to develop a centrifugal blood pump that meets the requirements of a long-term, implantable circulatory support device, in this study a single-pivot bearing supported centrifugal blood pump was designed to evaluate its basic performance. The single-pivot structure consisted of a ceramic ball male pivot mounted on the bottom surface of the impeller and a polyethylene female pivot incorporated in the bottom pump casing. The follower magnet mounted inside the impeller was magnetically coupled to the driver magnet mounted on the shaft of the direct current brushless motor. As the motor rotated, the impeller rotated supported entirely by a single-pivot bearing system. The static pump performance obtained in the mock circulatory loop revealed an acceptable performance as a left ventricular assist device in terms of flow and head pressure. The pump flow of 5 L/min against the head pressure of 100 mm Hg was obtained at rotational speeds of 2,000 to 2,200 rpm. The maximum pump flow was 9 L/min with 2,200 rpm. The maximum electrical-to-hydraulic power conversion efficiency was around 14% at pump flows of 4 to 5 L/min. The stability of the impeller was demonstrated at the pump rpm higher than 1,400 with a single-pivot bearing without an additional support at its top. The single-pivot supported centrifugal pump can provide adequate flow and pressure as a ventricular assist device, but its mechanical stability and hemolytic as well as thrombotic performances must be tested prior to clinical use.
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