The fundamental principle at work in the design of the Jarvik 2000 FlowMaker® is simplicity. Simplicity begets many strengths, including ease of use and reliability. While some ventricular assist devices have inflow and outflow valves, which require a complicated integration of the device into the body, the Jarvik 2000 is valveless. The pump itself consists of a bullet-shaped shell of welded titanium surrounding two ceramic bearings and a rotor, which turns a single, small impeller at an adjustable speed. The whole pump sits inside the intact natural heart, so there is no need for extra inflow apparatus. Its mission is singular: to move blood from the left ventricle through the outflow graft to the aorta. Hence the name, “FlowMaker.”
Since heart failure patients retain some function of the left ventricle, the Jarvik 2000 acts simply to increase the weakened ventricle’s output. In doing so, it allows the heart to circulate blood more efficiently, thus alleviating many of the symptoms and potential problems associated with heart failure, including failure of the kidneys, liver and lungs, which commonly occur in the final days or weeks of life.