Evaluation of a ventricular assist device system: stability in a proton beam therapy

ASAIO J. 2012 Nov-Dec;58(6):597-600. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31826feeca.


Inadequate research exists regarding testing of a ventricular assist device (VAD) for susceptibility to radiation damage. Specifically, minimal data are available to radiation oncologists prescribing treatment plans for patients with an implanted VAD. As the number of implanted devices increases, patients requiring radiation at tissue sites near or at the device will increase. The purpose of this study is to provide the first analysis of radiation effects of proton beams on VADs. Five left VAD (LVAD) pumps (HeartWare Inc., Miami Lakes, FL) were exposed to proton beam radiation at a calibrated dose rate of 5 Gy/min up to a cumulative dose of 70 Gy. The Heartware LVAD pump recorded parameters including power (W), speed (revolutions/min), and estimated flow (L/min). Analysis of collected data after each irradiation found no deviation in pump parameters from baseline values. The Heartware LVAD pump exhibited no change in device function when directly irradiated by a high energy proton beam. Secondary neutron fluence created in the proton beam during irradiation had no effect on external components including the system controller and batteries powering the Heartware LVAD.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Proton Therapy*