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Ensuring that a Propeller Keeps a Heart Beating

O-INSPECT measures minipropeller to be used inside aorta

A mini propeller for the aorta will support weak hearts in patients suffering from cardiac insufficiency. German medical technology company, CardioBridge, is working on the market launch of the tiny pump. A multisensor measuring machine from Carl Zeiss is accompanying the development and ensuring the quality of all components.

The challenge: 50 exact single parts

In almost 10 percent of heart attack patients, there is a risk of cardiac shock: the blood no longer circulates properly and can lead to organ failure. The solution for many patients in the future could lie in the Reitan catheter pump. "This pump helps the heart regenerate and supports circulation at the same time," explains Klaus Epple, Research and Development Manager at CardioBridge GmbH.

When folded, the device has a diameter of only around three millimeters, unfolded 15. It is implanted in the aorta via the femoral artery in the upper leg. Once in place, the propeller unfolds and pumps blood with a speed of 13,000 rpm. For everything to work properly, the device must not deviate by more than 15 micrometers from the ideal dimensions. Furthermore, the 50 different parts that go into the pump must be produced with exact precision and interact with each other seamlessly. The company receives the parts – primarily cast, turned and milled parts just a few micrometers in size – from different suppliers. This made reliable incoming inspection that much more vital: "We can only assess the results of our developments if we know the accuracy of our components," explains Epple.

Solution: O-INSPECT multisensor measuring machine

CardioBridge purchased an O-INSPECT multisensor measuring machine from Carl Zeiss to ensure that all the parts of the pump comply with the specifications. Measuring technicians use O-INSPECT to measure each component – with the optical or contact sensor depending on the size, geometry and surface finish.

Benefit: precise, flexible, user-friendly

"Thanks to the two sensors on O-INSPECT, we can precisely measure all of the different parts," says the satisfied head of development. The user-friendliness of O-INSPECT is also vital to ensuring that the measuring results are available shortly after a part is received. As a result, the reliable and practical measuring machine is playing a big role in bringing the pump to market in the near future – and ensuring that patients' hearts keep beating.

About the company

Headquartered in Hechingen, Germany, medical technology company CardioBridge has been working on the development of the Reitan catheter pump since 2006. The invention of Swedish cardiologist Dr. Reitan Oyvind supports the heart and circulation of patients suffering from cardiac insufficiency, thus preventing cardiac shock and organ damage. The tiny pump has already been used in clinical studies to stabilize more than 25 patients in Sweden and the UK.