Simulation of Ventricular, Cavo-Pulmonary, and Biventricular Ventricular Assist Devices in Failing Fontan

Arianna Di Molfetta*, Antonio Amodeo, Libera Fresiello, Maria Giovanna Trivella, Roberta Iacobelli, Mara Pilati, Gianfranco Ferrari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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Considering the lack of donors, ventricular assist devices (VADs) could be an alternative to heart transplantation for failing Fontan patients, in spite of the lack of experience and the complex anatomy and physiopathology of these patients. Considering the high number of variables that play an important role such as type of Fontan failure, type of VAD connection, and setting (right VAD [RVAD], left VAD [LVAD], or biventricular VAD [BIVAD]), a numerical model could be useful to support clinical decisions. The aim of this article is to develop and test a lumped parameter model of the cardiovascular system simulating and comparing the VAD effects on failing Fontan. Hemodynamic and echocardiographic data of 10 Fontan patients were used to simulate the baseline patients' condition using a dedicated lumped parameter model. Starting from the simulated baseline and for each patient, a systolic dysfunction, a diastolic dysfunction, and an increment of the pulmonary vascular resistance were simulated. Then, for each patient and for each pathology, the RVAD, LVAD, and BIVAD implantations were simulated. The model can reproduce patients' baseline well. In the case of systolic dysfunction, the LVAD unloads the single ventricle and increases the cardiac output (CO) (35%) and the arterial systemic pressure (Pas) (25%). With RVAD, a decrement of inferior vena cava pressure (Pvci) (39%) was observed with 34% increment of CO, but an increment of the single ventricle external work (SVEW). With the BIVAD, an increment of Pas (29%) and CO (37%) was observed. In the case of diastolic dysfunction, the LVAD increases CO (42%) and the RVAD decreases the Pvci, while both increase the SVEW. In the case of pulmonary vascular resistance increment, the highest CO (50%) and Pas (28%) increment is obtained with an RVAD with the highest decrement of Pvci (53%) and an increment of the SVEW but with the lowest VAD power consumption. The use of numerical models could be helpful in this innovative field to evaluate the effect of VAD implantation on Fontan patients to support patient and VAD type selection personalizing the assistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-558
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial organs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fontan failure
  • Lumped parameter models
  • Ventricular assist devices


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