Basic cerebrospinal fluid flow patterns in ventricular catheters prototypes
A previous study by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the three-dimensional (3-D) flow in ventricular catheters (VC) disclosed that most of the total fluid mass flows through the catheter’s most proximal holes in commercially available VC. The aim of the present study is to investigate basic flow patterns in VC prototypes.
The general procedure for the development of a CFD model calls for transforming the physical dimensions of the system to be studied into a virtual wire-frame model which provides the coordinates for the virtual space of a CFD mesh, in this case, a VC. The incompressible Navier–Stokes equations, a system of strongly coupled, nonlinear, partial differential conservation equations governing the motion of the flow field, are then solved numerically. New designs of VC, e.g., with novel hole configurations, can then be readily modeled, and the corresponding flow pattern computed in an automated way. Specially modified VCs were used for benchmark experimental testing.
Three distinct types of flow pattern in prototype models of VC were obtained by varying specific parameters of the catheter design, like the number of holes in the drainage segments and the distance between them. Specifically, we show how to equalize and reverse the flow pattern through the different VC drainage segments by choosing appropriate parameters.
The flow pattern in prototype catheters is determined by the number of holes, the hole diameter, the ratio hole/segment, and the distance between hole segments. The application of basic design principles of VC may help to develop new catheters with better flow circulation, thus reducing the possibility of becoming occluded.