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New Device Treats Heart Failure, Stimulates Economic Development

NSF Award:

A New Paradigm for Entrepreneurial Discovery and Business Development  (University of Louisville Research Foundation Inc)

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Researchers at the University of Louisville and a partner company have developed a long-term "counterpulsation" device (CPD) to treat individuals with early heart failure. Counterpulsation increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart and assists the heart with circulation; existing techniques, however, are only suitable for short-term treatment due to biocompatibility issues. Unlike other CPDs, this device is designed to be implanted superficially (without entering the chest) and to allow complete patient mobility. The collaborators have successfully completed hemodynamic efficacy and biocompatibility testing, demonstrating the feasibility of the new CPD in live subjects.

The CPD is an early result of a university-industry collaboration that was initiated with support from the NSF Partnerships for Innovation program. This collaboration has established a program for the discovery and commercialization of many emerging technologies to improve quality of life and stimulate the regional economy. Bioengineering graduate students at the University of Louisville participate in an Innovation Training Program that includes several components:  coursework in entrepreneurial discovery and business development, research assignments related to their dissertations, clinical exposure to cardiovascular device applications, and a requirement to develop a business plan for their new product concept. This multidisciplinary program is developing a cadre of very well-trained, entrepreneurially-oriented engineers as the drivers of cardiovascular bioengineering and new business development in the Louisville area.


  • Image of a model human heart
A model of the human heart
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