Corwave develops innovative implantable blood pumps for cardiac assistance.
Heart disease is a growing problem, with 550,000 new cases of heart failure diagnosed each year. Ten percent of the patients progress to end stage heart disease when the heart is no long able to pump enough blood by itself. These patients have only a 26% chance of surviving one year if treated with optimal drug therapy. A small portion of this group will receive a heart transplant, but a lack of donors means many patients will die while waiting. For these patients, a device that assists the heart can help, either in allowing them to receive a transplant, or in providing additional years of active life. LVADs (Left Ventricular Assist Devices) are devices that meet this urgent clinical need. The worldwide market is estimated in excess of US$3 billion.
Currently available technologies have demonstrated that mechanical pumps can significantly extend the life of late stage heart failure patients. However, patients implanted with current devices experience significant adverse events, which result in re-admissions to hospital and reduced quality of life. The Corwave technology will reduce these adverse events, significantly improving quality of life for these patients and reducing the overall cost of providing the therapy.
How does it work ? Traditional LVADs are based on rotary pumps, acting very much like the turbine of a motor-boat when it propels the ship in water. The Corwave pump uses an oscillating membrane to displace fluid (in this case, blood), similar to the motion of a fish tail. Not only is this propulsion much more efficient in terms of energy consumption, but it is also much more gentle for the blood. Benefits include the ability to power the device in a wireless fashion, which will reduce infections due to power lines, and a significantly reduction of the usual complications due to blood damage during pumping.
Corwave is currently in pre-clinical validation phase and getting ready for its First-In-Man clinical trial.