Merlo supports The Common Good

Merlo supports the leading medical research conducted by The Common Good, an initiative of the Prince Charles Hospital Research Foundation. Read more about Eleonore’s groundbreaking research on cannula’s.

Photo : Dean Merlo and Eleonore

The best treatment for a person with end-stage heart failure is a heart transplant; however, in Australia there is a shortage of donor organs, meaning thousands of patients every year are left waiting.

The answer to this problem has been the development of a ventricle assist device: an implantable heart pump that works to keep the heart alive while a person waits for a transplant. These devices are life-saving tools, but there are still plenty of improvements to be made so that patients have a reasonable quality of life.

Eleonore’s research looked at how different cannula (which connect these devices to the heart) affect blood flow in the heart. She’s mostly concerned about a lack of blood flow where these devices are inserted, as stagnation can lead to clotting, and eventually more sinister events such as aneurysms.

Eleonore tested different shaped cannula – four that are currently used in Australia and one developed by the Innovative Cardiovascular Engineering Technology Lab (ICETLAB) – to see which offered the best blood flow in the heart. By using new laser imaging technology, she could attach each cannula to a 3D printed model of the ventricle and look at this blood flow.

Her research has made a compelling case for the introduction of this new cannula – developed by the PCHF’s very own ICETLAB – as it offered the most natural blood flow and the least amount of stagnation.

Eleonore’s work will potentially save thousands of lives, and give heart failure patients on these devices a better quality of life.

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