A modular computational circulatory model applicable to VAD testing and training

Gianfranco Ferrari*, MacIej Kozarski, Krzysztof Zieliński, Libera Fresiello, Arianna Di Molfetta, Krystyna Górczyńska, Krzysztof J. Pałko, Marek Darowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Aim of this work was to develop a modular computational model able to interact with ventricular assist devices (VAD) for research and educational applications. The lumped parameter model consists of five functional modules (left and right ventricles, systemic, pulmonary, and coronary circulation) that are easily replaceable if necessary. The possibility of interacting with VADs is achieved via interfaces acting as impedance transformers. This last feature was tested using an electrical VAD model. Tests were aimed at demonstrating the possibilities and verifying the behavior of interfaces when testing VADs connected in different ways to the circulatory system. For these reasons, experiments were performed in a purely numerical mode, simulating a caval occlusion, and with the model interfaced to an external left-VAD (LVAD) in two different ways: with atrioaortic and ventriculoaortic connection. The caval occlusion caused the leftward shift of the LV p-v loop, along with the drop in arterial and ventricular pressures. A narrower LV p-v loop and cardiac output and aortic pressure rise were the main effects of atrioaortic assistance. A wider LV p-v loop and a ventricular average volume drop were the main effects of ventricular-aortic assistance. Results coincided with clinical and experimental data attainable in the literature. The model will be a component of a hydronumerical model designed to be connected to different types of VADs. It will be completed with autonomic features, including the baroreflex and a more detailed coronary circulation model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-43
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Artificial Organs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular system
  • Computational model
  • Heart assist device
  • Lumped parameter model
  • Ventricular elastance


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