A Compliant Model of the Ventricular Apex to Study Suction in Ventricular Assist Devices

Maria Rocchi, Libera Fresiello, Bart Meyns, Steven Jacobs, Christoph Gross, Jo P. Pauls, Roland Graefe, Anna Stecka, Maciej Kozarski, Krzysztof Zieliński

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Ventricular suction is a frequent adverse event in patients with a ventricular assist device (VAD). This study presents a suction module (SM) embedded in a hybrid (hydraulic-computational) cardiovascular simulator suitable for the testing of VADs and related suction events. The SM consists of a compliant latex tube reproducing a simplified ventricular apex. The SM is connected on one side to a hydraulic chamber of the simulator reproducing the left ventricle, and on the other side to a HeartWare HVAD system. The SM is immersed in a hydraulic chamber with a controllable pressure to occlude the compliant tube and activate suction. Two patient profiles were simulated (dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction), and the circulating blood volume was reduced stepwise to obtain different preload levels. For each simulated step, the following data were collected: HVAD flow, ventricular pressure and volume, and pressure at the inflow cannula. Data collected for the two profiles and for decreasing preload levels evidenced suction profiles differing in terms of frequency (intermittent vs. every heart beat), amplitude (partial or complete stoppage of the HVAD flow), and shape. Indeed different HVAD flow patterns were observed for the two patient profiles because of the different mechanical properties of the simulated ventricles. Overall, the HVAD flow patterns showed typical indicators of suctions observed in clinics. Results confirmed that the SM can reproduce suction phenomena with VAD under different pathophysiological conditions. As such, the SM can be used in the future to test VADs and control algorithms aimed at preventing suction phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1133
Number of pages9
JournalASAIO journal (American Society for Artificial Internal Organs : 1992)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


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