Development and Validation of a Computational Fluid Dynamics Methodology for Simulation of Pulsatile Left Ventricular Assist Devices

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Abstract

An unsteady computational fluid dynamic methodology was developed so that design analyses could be undertaken for devices such as the 50cc Penn State positive-displacement left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The piston motion observed in vitro was modeled, yielding the physiologic flow waveform observed during pulsatile experiments. Valve closure was modeled numerically by locally increasing fluid viscosity during the closed phase. Computational geometry contained Bjork-Shiley Monostrut mechanical heart valves in mitral and aortic positions. Cases for computational analysis included LVAD operation under steady-flow and pulsatile-flow conditions. Computations were validated by comparing simulation results with previously obtained in vitro particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements. The steady portion of the analysis studied effects of mitral valve orientation, comparing the computational results with in vitro data obtained from mock circulatory loop experiments. The velocity field showed good qualitative agreement with the in vitro PIV data. The pulsatile flow simulations modeled the unsteady flow phenomena associated with a positive-displacement LVAD operating through several beat cycles. Flow velocity gradients allowed computation of the scalar wall strain rate, an important factor for determining hemodynamics of the device. Velocity magnitude contours compared well with PIV data throughout the cycle. Computational wall shear rates over the pulsatile cycle were found to be in the same range as wall shear rates observed in vitro.

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