Numerical, Hydraulic, and Hemolytic Evaluation of an Intravascular Axial Flow Blood Pump to Mechanically Support Fontan Patients
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Currently available mechanical circulatory support systems are limited for adolescent and adult patients with a Fontan physiology. To address this growing need, we are developing a collapsible, percutaneously-inserted, axial flow blood pump to support the cavopulmonary circulation in Fontan patients. During the first phase of development, the design and experimental evaluation of an axial flow blood pump was performed. We completed numerical modeling of the pump using computational fluid dynamics analysis, hydraulic testing of a plastic pump prototype, and blood bag experiments (n = 7) to measure the levels of hemolysis produced by the pump. Statistical analyses using regression were performed. The prototype with a 4-bladed impeller generated a pressure rise of 2–30 mmHg with a flow rate of 0.5–4 L/min for 3000–6000 RPM. A comparison of the experimental performance data to the numerical predictions demonstrated an excellent agreement with a maximum deviation being less than 6%. A linear increase in the plasma-free hemoglobin (pfHb) levels during the 6-h experiments was found, as desired. The maximum pfHb level was measured to be 21 mg/dL, and the average normalized index of hemolysis was determined to be 0.0097 g/100 L for all experiments. The hydraulic performance of the prototype and level of hemolysis are indicative of significant progress in the design of this blood pump. These results support the continued development of this intravascular pump as a bridge‐to‐transplant, bridge‐to‐recovery, bridge-to-hemodynamic stability, or bridge-to-surgical reconstruction for Fontan patients.
KeywordsArtificial right ventricle Blood pump Cavopulmonary assist device Heart pump Intravascular blood pump Mechanical cavopulmonary assist Pediatric circulatory support Single ventricle physiology
The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support for this work provided by the Thomas F. and Katie Jeffress Memorial Trust, Phase I and Phase II Award (Grant Number: J-874), American Heart Association Beginning Grant-in-Aid (Grant Number: 0865320E), National Science Foundation (Grant Number: EEC-0823383), 2009 Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, and the U.S. Department of Education GAANN Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Education and Research (I-GEEAR) fellowship awards (S. S. Bhavsar and S. G. Chopski), and the Mendel Family Diary Farm in Amelia County, VA.
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