While the innovative design of the Jarvik 2000 pump is typically the focus of discussion in news and medical forums, the complete Jarvik 2000 system consists of several components, including external components that patients come to know far more intimately than the pump itself.
Components of the Jarvik 2000
This equipment includes the external controller, two different types of batteries, and various cables and connectors. Depending on whether the pump is implanted for temporary or permanent use, the power cable exits the patient’s body either through the abdominal wall or through a connector mounted on the head, behind the ear. The power cable connects the implanted pump to its wearable battery and controls. Because the pump requires an external battery to function, patients are connected to a battery at all times. A small half-size AA battery powers the Jarvik 2000’s alarm system, which alerts the patient if the battery that powers the pump has become completely discharged or disconnected.
The Jarvik 2000 FlowMaker® can run for 8-10 hours on a single, portable Lithium-ion battery pack, similar to those used for high-end video cameras and laptops. These batteries are small and light, so patients can carry extras to extend their time untethered to a stationary power source. The total weight of the battery pack, controller, and cables is less than three pounds. Patients also keep a complete set of backup equipment close at hand in case of damage to their primary equipment.
Though rugged, the external components of the Jarvik 2000 are not indestructible. Like all electronics, they should be handled with care. The components ought not be dropped or subjected to extremes of heat and cold. The cables, when not protected, can suffer significant damage.
Still, damage to the Jarvik 2000 equipment rarely causes harm to the patient. One Jarvik 2000 patient broke a cable connector when he slammed it in a car door; another accidentally cut his cable with a scissors while changing his bandage; yet another patient lost connection to his battery and controller when a purse snatcher grabbed his shoulder bag and ran off with it. Fortunately, in each of these situations, the patient suffered no harm. Their own natural hearts were able to sustain them until they could connect their backup equipment.