Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1959

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Committee Chair


This report deals with the problems involved in the development and use of a mechanical heart. An artificial lung is often used in conjunction with a mechanical heart so artificial oxygenation was also included. The material for this report was taken from medical journals, scientific journals, and textbooks of anatomy and physiology. Problems encountered in the development of a mechanical heart that were solved included the blotting of blood, hemolysis, air entering the blood, oxygenation of the blood, and the attachment of blood vessels to a mechanical heart. The clotting of blood was prevented by the use of heparin. Removal of the heparin effect was accomplished by transfusion of whole blood or, in some cases, protamine sulfate was successful. Hemolysis was reduced by making the functioning parts of the mechanical heart of smooth inert material. The pumping mechanisms of the later models move blood in a fashion similar to a living heart, thereby preventing trauma to the blood. Air was prevented from entering the blood by the use of a cellophane dialysis-tubing obturator and by removal of canulae while they were under a saline solution. The oxygenation of blood was accomplished through the use of dialysis, bubbling, or filming. Blood vessels were handled with care to prevent permanent injury. They were carefully selected for the return of the blood to the body. Short catheters were used whenever possible to prevent excessive pumping pressure. Catheters were pointed in the right direction to prevent excessive fluid accumulation in parts of the body. The mechanical heart is now a useful device and its use is increasing in many hospitals.


Copyright 1959 Paul Louis Hofstetter


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