PUCA pump and IABP comparison: Analysis of hemodynamic and energetic effects using a digital computer model of the circulation

Libera Fresiello*, Y. John Gu, Gianfranco Ferrari, Arianna di Molfetta, Gerhard Rakhorst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The pulsatile catheter pump (PUCA pump) is a left ventricular assist device that provides additional flow to the left ventricle. It is usually run in order to ensure a counterpulsation effect, as in the case of the intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP). Because of this similarity, a comparison between the PUCA pump and the IABP was conducted from both the hemodynamic and energetic points of view. Numerical models of the two devices were created and connected to the CARDIOSIM cardiovascular simulator. The PUCA and IABP models were then verified using in vivo experimental data and literature data, respectively. Numerical experiments were conducted for different values of left ventricular end systolic elastance (Els) and systemic arterial compliance (Csa). The energetic comparison was conducted taking into account the diastolic pressure time index and the endocardial viability ratio. Hemodynamic results expressed as cardiac output (CO) and mean coronary blood flow (CBF) show that both the IABP and the PUCA pump efficacy decrease with higher values of Els and Csa. The IABP especially shows higher sensitivity to these parameters, to the extent that in some cases CO actually drops and CBF does not increase. On the other hand, for lower values of Csa, IABP performance improves so much that the PUCA pump flow needs to be increased in order to ensure a hemodynamic effect comparable to that of the IABP. Energetic results show a trend similar to the hemodynamic ones. The study will be continued by investigating other energetic variables and the autonomic response of the cardiovascular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-455
Number of pages14
JournalThe International journal of artificial organs
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular system modeling
  • Counterpulsation effect
  • IABP
  • Left ventricular elastance
  • Lumped parameter model
  • PUCA pump


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