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Aided Heart Assistance for optimal treatment of heart failure patients

Fig. 1: Hardware-in-the-Loop test bench.

Fig. 2: Concept of heart assistance.

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Project description

In case of a severe heart attack, the restoring of blood flow through the myocardium (heart muscle) is the mainstay of therapy. An important element of this therapy is the support of the heart’s pump function by using a technical assist device. However, the correct choice of cardiac support parameters is difficult and may only be made by an experienced practitioner. This project lays the foundations, which enables the optimal treatment of patients even in hospitals with a low degree of specialization. We develop a novel System that gives sophisticated and context-dependent assistance to doctors. The principal task of this system is to help adjusting the delivery rate of a heart pump accurately to the patient's needs.

By using a hardware-in-the-loop test bench, we are able to analyze the complex interaction between control loops of technical pump systems and physiological systems. The development of these technical components are based on knowledge gained in a clinical environment. On the one hand, an animal model for evidence-based evaluation of support strategies is investigated. On the other hand, clinical pathways described formally for the first time. This description enables the implementation of an expert system, which provides the general public with access to high-quality health care.


The development of an aided heart assistance system employs various fields of research: Modelling of the cardiovascular system (mathematical physiology), control design for mechatronic systems (modern control theory) and implementation of expert system (artificial intelligence). The integration of these different research disciplines enables novel and innovative approaches to solve open problems in technical heart assistance. The developed mock circulatory loop is an example for this integration. It is possible to create exceptional conditions for assist devices or artificial hearts in this hardware-in-the-loop test bench, which would be impossible or difficult to achieve in an animal model. Additionally, the possibility to test assist devices under laboratory conditions in an artificial mock loop helps reducing the number of necessary animal experiments.

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