Numerical and In Vitro Experimental Investigation of the Hemolytic Performance at the Off-Design Point of an Axial Ventricular Assist Pump

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Abstract

The ventricular assist pumps do not always function at the design point; instead, these pumps may operate at unfavorable off-design points. For example, the axial ventricular assist pump FW-2, in which the design point is 5 L/min flow rate against 100 mm Hg pressure increase at 8,000 rpm, sometimes works at off-design flow rates of 1 to 4 L/min. The hemolytic performance of the FW-2 at both the design point and at off-design points was estimated numerically and tested in vitro. Flow characteristics in the pump were numerically simulated and analyzed with special attention paid to the scalar sheer stress and exposure time. An in vitro hemolysis test was conducted to verify the numerical results. The simulation results showed that the scalar shear stress in the rotor region at the 1 L/min off-design point was 70% greater than at the 5 L/min design point. The hemolysis index at the 1 L/min off-design point was 3.6 times greater than at the 5 L/min design point. The in vitro results showed that the normalized index of hemolysis increased from 0.017 g/100 L at the 5 L/min design point to 0.162 g/100 L at the 1 L/min off-design point. The hemolysis comparison between the different blood pump flow rates will be helpful for future pump design point selection and will guide the usage of ventricular assist pumps. The hemolytic performance of the blood pump at the working point in the clinic should receive more focus.

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