Numerical simulation of the pulsating catheter pump: A left ventricular assist device

Bart Verkerke, Dimitri Mihaylov, Albert Anne Geertsema, Jaap Lubbers, Gerhard Rakhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The pulsating catheter (PUCA) pump, a left ventricular assist device, consists of a hydraulically or pneumatically driven membrane pump, extracorporeally placed and mounted to a valved catheter. The catheter is introduced into an easily accessible artery and positioned with its distal tip in the left ventricle. Blood is aspirated from the left ventricle during systole and ejected into the ascending aorta during diastole. A numerical model of the PUCA pump has been developed to determine the internal diameter of the PUCA pump catheter that allows a certain blood flow. The model considers a limitation of mechanical blood damage and determines the accompanying pressure and flow profile for driving the pump. For a flow of 5 L/min, a catheter with an internal diameter of at least 6.95 mm is required. For 3 L/min, the minimal diameter is 5.50 mm. The latter catheter can be introduced in the axillary artery, the former via the aorta during an open thorax surgical procedure. To validate the numerical model, 2 different PUCA pump configurations were tested in vitro. Results showed a good resemblance between model and in vitro behavior of the PUCA pump.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-931
Number of pages8
JournalArtificial organs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Mechanical circulatory support system
  • Numerical simulation


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