Extravascular Cardiac Assist System

New approach to helping chronic heart failure

In chronic heart failure, e.g. B. as a result of a heart attack, the pumping capacity of the heart decreases steadily. In the advanced stage, drugs only help to a limited extent, heart transplantation as a therapy option remains limited due to the lack of donors. AdjuCor GmbH, a Munich-based start-up founded in 2012, has therefore developed a gentle system that is placed around the heart and synchronously mechanically supports the heart muscle.

Chronic heart failure describes the progressive deterioration of the mechanical pump function of one or both heart chambers, which cannot be stopped by therapeutic measures such as medication and electrical pacemakers. The current standard of care for patients with advanced heart failure consists of heart transplantation, which is limited due to donor shortages, and the implantation of mechanical blood pumps. An estimated 17 million people with advanced heart failure die each year as a result of the disease. Therapy options that achieve improved relief or recovery could help prevent this.

In a research project started in 2012, the influence of individual, patient-specific heart support was recorded quantitatively and phenomenologically by means of numerical simulation models and cardiac recovery processes after an acute myocardial infarction. From this, predictions for the design, layout and operating conditions for extravascular support systems could be derived.

The technology of AdjuCor GmbH differs fundamentally from currently available systems by avoiding blood contact, the ability to support both heart chambers and by simple application in patient-specific treatment. The extravascular, biventricular system can be implanted in a few minutes while the heart is beating, without interfering with the bloodstream. This lack of blood contact avoids complications such as stroke and bleeding – probably the greatest treatment advantage over current treatment methods. The system can be individually adjusted to the needs of the patient. This leads to a significant improvement and simplification of patient care and thus improves
the quality of life of people with cardiac insufficiency.

From research funding to clinical application
AdjuCor GmbH was founded in 2012 by heart surgeon Prof. Dr. Founded by Stephen Wildhirt. The start-up received project-related support from the European Commission and from German and Bavarian sponsors. The medical technology company employs more than 30 experts and has raised more than €13 million in funding to date. The first clinical application of the heart support system called “BEAT” is in the planning stage.

The Bavarian Research Foundation has funded the cooperation project An extravascular heart support system with a grant of around €336,000 in the period 10/2012 – 05/2015. The follow-up project Adaptive control of a miniaturized extravascular heart support system (BayMED funding initiative) was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy with a grant of around €431,000 in the period 03/2016 – 02/2018 and carried out by the project management agency Bavaria accompanied.

Success stories overview