Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of the Burr Orbital Motion in Rotational Atherectomy with Particle Image Velocimetry Validation


Rotational atherectomy (RA) uses a high-speed rotating burr introduced via a catheter through the artery to remove hardened atherosclerotic plaque. Current clinical RA technique lacks consensus on burr size and rotational speed. The rotating burr orbits inside the artery due to the fluid force of the blood. Different from a common RA technique of upsizing burrs for larger luminal gain, a small burr can orbit to treat a large lumen. A 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed to simulate the burr motion and study the fluid flow and force in RA. A particle image velocimetry experiment was conducted to measure and validate the flow field including the radial and axial velocities and a pair of counter-rotating vortices near the burr equator in CFD. The hydraulic force on the burr and the contact force between the burr and the arterial wall were estimated by CFD. The contact force can be reduced by using smaller burr and lower rotational speed. Utilizing the small burr orbital motion has the potential to be an improved RA technique.

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The research is supported by the National Science Foundation (Award CMMI #1232655). We acknowledge Boston Scientific for the support of the rotational atherectomy devices in this study.

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Correspondence to Yihao Zheng.

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Associate Editor Lakshmi Prasad Dasi oversaw the review of this article.

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Zheng, Y., Liu, Y., Pitre, J.J. et al. Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of the Burr Orbital Motion in Rotational Atherectomy with Particle Image Velocimetry Validation. Ann Biomed Eng 46, 567–578 (2018).

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  • Hydraulic force
  • Burr-to-artery ratio
  • Rotational speed
  • Atherosclerosis