A Numerical Simulation Comparing a Cavopulmonary Assist Device and VA ECMO for Failing Fontan Support

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A cavopulmonary assist device (CPAD) has been developed for failing Fontan support. This CPAD pumps blood from superior/inferior vena cavae (SVC/IVC) to pulmonary artery. In this study, we compared failing Fontan support with CPAD versus veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) in silico. A numerical lumped-parameter circulatory system model was used to simulate Fontan circulation. Failing Fontan was simulated by increased pulmonary resistance. Central venous pressure (CVP), mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP), left atrial pressure (LAP), and univentricular outflow (CO) were simulated and compared with published clinical data. The CPAD and VA ECMO were simulated using 1–5 L/min pump flows. In agreement with published clinical data, the simulated failing Fontan condition had increased CVP (19 mmHg) and mPAP (18 mmHg) with decreased LAP (7 mmHg) and cardiac output (3 L/min) compared with functional Fontan condition. The CPAD achieved total Fontan assistance with pump flows higher than original CO. Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation provided partial Fontan assistance with low pump flows. Blood went through pulmonary circulation with CPAD whereas VA ECMO bypassed pulmonary circulation and diminished univentricular blood flow (0.8 L/min). This in silico study demonstrated that CPAD preserved heart/lung function whereas VA ECMO had very low univentricular flow, potentially leading to thrombosis or univentricular atrophy.

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