Tetra Ryerson

Engineering that breaks down barriers

Tetra Ryerson is a student run group that works with the North American Society of Tetra. Together we create assistive devices for individuals with disabilities

HEART PUMP ALARM

As a team, we decided to work on a project that would allow us to develop an effective solution for a 66-year-old man facing several disabilities. Our client has a hearing impairment, severe cardiomyopathy, along with limited mobility. A necessary surgical procedure was needed to place a Left Ventricular Assist Device in order to compensate for his heart disease.

The LVAD works by taking over the pumping action of the left ventricle, which in this case has been damaged due to heart disease. During the day, the LVAD functions by means of external batteries, and by a large plug-in module at night. In case of a power failure, the large plug-in module is designed to notify the user via an alarm. Given that our client is also hearing impaired, a power failure occurring during the night would not allow him to hear the alarms, as he is unable to wear a hearing aid while sleeping. By discussing the following problem as a team, we were able to come up with a possible solution to meet our client’s needs.

Our solution includes creating a device that is able to pick up the alarm’s sound - in the case that a power failure were to occur during the night - and convert it into a vibration, which our client would be able to sense. The vibration would therefore wake up the client and notify him of the power failure. In order to ensure that the client will sense the vibration, we believe that the device should be placed under his pillow, given that this would be the most sensible placement due to the severity of the problem if power failure were to occur.

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