Device for Cardiac Patients with Severe Heart Failure

Cardiothoracic surgery resident Dr. Evan Rotar will collaborate with UVA School of Medicine clinicians and UVA engineers to design a device that will help cardiac patients with severe heart failure.


Cardiothoracic surgery resident Dr. Evan Rotar will collaborate with UVA School of Medicine clinicians and UVA engineers to design a device that will help cardiac patients with severe heart failure.

Rotar and his clinical mentor Dr. Leora T. Yarboro, a UVA associate professor of surgery and chief of cardiac surgery, have been trying to solve a problem for patients who have experienced heart failure and have needed a live-saving ventricular assist device, or VAD, implanted to keep their heart pumping. Some of the patients who receive a VAD don’t need it permanently because their heart gets strong enough to pump on its own. But the implant requires anchoring the device to the heart, thus making a hole.

The big question Rotar and Yarboro have been working on is: What do we do with the hole in the heart after the VAD is removed?

The team has already developed several early device prototypes that could work to either “plug” the hole or act as an “access point” for other assistive or monitoring devices. The innovative duo is excited about the next phase of their project which will involve a strong partnership with UVA Engineering via the Coulter program, which is housed in the UVA Department of Biomedical Engineering.