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.