Flow analysis of ventricular assist device inflow and outflow cannula positioning using a naturally shaped ventricle and aortic branch

Marco Laumen, Tim Kaufmann, Daniel Timms, Peter Schlanstein, Sebastian Jansen, Shaun Gregory, Kai Chun Wong, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Ulrich Steinseifer

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Tip geometry and placement of rotary blood pump inflow and outflow cannulae influence the dynamics of flow within the ventricle and aortic branch. Cannulation, therefore, directly influences the potential for thrombus formation and end-organ perfusion during ventricular assist device (VAD) support or cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of various inflow/outflow cannula tip geometries and positions on ventricular and greater vessel flow patterns to evaluate ventricular washout and impact on cerebral perfusion. Transparent models of a dilated cardiomyopathic ventricle and an aortic branch were reconstructed from magnetic resonance imaging data to allow flow measurements using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The contractile function of the failing ventricle was reproduced pneumatically, and supported with a rotary pump. Flow patterns were visualized around VAD inflow cannulae, with various tip geometries placed in three positions in the ventricle. The outflow cannula was placed in the subclavian artery and at several positions in the aorta. Flow patterns were measured using PIV and used to validate an aortic flow computational fluid dynamic study. The PIV technique indicated that locating the inflow tip in the left ventricular outflow tract improved complete ventricular washout while the tip geometry had a smaller influence. However, side holes in the inflow cannula improved washout in all cases. The PIV results confirmed that the positioning and orientation of the outflow cannula in the aortic branch had a high impact on the flow pattern in the vessels, with a negative blood flow in the right carotid artery observed in some cases. Cannula placement within the ventricle had a high influence on chamber washout. The positioning of the outflow cannula directly influences the flow through the greater vessels, and may be responsible for the occasional reduction in cerebral perfusion seen in clinical CPB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-806
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Inflow cannula
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Rotary blood pump
  • Ventricular assist device

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