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    ABSTRACT: Heart disease is attributed as the highest cause of death in the world. Although this could be alleviated by heart transplantation, there is a chronic shortage of donor hearts and so mechanical solutions are being considered. Currently, many Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) are being developed worldwide in an effort to increase life expectancy and quality of life for end stage heart failure patients. Current pre-clinical testing methods for VADs involve laboratory testing using Mock Circulation Loops (MCLs), and in vivo testing in animal models. The research and development of highly accurate MCLs is vital to the continuous improvement of VAD performance. The first objective of this study was to develop and validate a mathematical model of a MCL. This model could then be used in the design and construction of a variable compliance chamber to improve the performance of an existing MCL as well as form the basis for a new miniaturised MCL. An extensive review of literature was carried out on MCLs and mathematical modelling of their function. A mathematical model of a MCL was then created in the MATLAB/SIMULINK environment. This model included variable features such as resistance, fluid inertia and volumes (resulting from the pipe lengths and diameters); compliance of Windkessel chambers, atria and ventricles; density of both fluid and compressed air applied to the system; gravitational effects on vertical columns of fluid; and accurately modelled actuators controlling the ventricle contraction. This model was then validated using the physical properties and pressure and flow traces produced from a previously developed MCL. A variable compliance chamber was designed to reproduce parameters determined by the mathematical model. The function of the variability was achieved by controlling the transmural pressure across a diaphragm to alter the compliance of the system. An initial prototype was tested in a previously developed MCL, and a variable level of arterial compliance was successfully produced; however, the complete range of compliance values required for accurate physiological representation was not able to be produced with this initial design. The mathematical model was then used to design a smaller physical mock circulation loop, with the tubing sizes adjusted to produce accurate pressure and flow traces whilst having an appropriate frequency response characteristic. The development of the mathematical model greatly assisted the general design of an in vitro cardiovascular device test rig, while the variable compliance chamber allowed simple and real-time manipulation of MCL compliance to allow accurate transition between a variety of physiological conditions. The newly developed MCL produced an accurate design of a mechanical representation of the human circulatory system for in vitro cardiovascular device testing and education purposes. The continued improvement of VAD test rigs is essential if VAD design is to improve, and hence improve quality of life and life expectancy for heart failure patients.
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    ABSTRACT: Extra-aortic counterpulsation for the management of chronic heart failure is a novel approach. We report the use of an extra-aortic implantable counterpulsation pump in the management of a 73-year-old patient with severe heart failure refractory to medical therapy. The implantable counterpulsation pump prolonged his life and greatly improved its quality. The patient lived almost 7 months after the implantation of the device and died of septic complications secondary to gas line infection.
    The Annals of thoracic surgery 07/2008; 85(6):2122-5. DOI:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2007.12.049 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular assist devices are tested in mock circulation loops (MCLs) prior to animal and clinical testing. These MCLs rely on characteristics such as pneumatic parameters to create pressure and flow, and pipe dimensions to replicate the resistance, compliance and fluid inertia of the natural cardiovascular system. A mathematical simulation was developed in SIMULINK to simulate an existing MCL. Model validation was achieved by applying the physical MCL characteristics to the simulation and comparing the resulting pressure traces. These characteristics were subsequently altered to improve and thus predict the performance of a more accurate physical system. The simulation was successful in simulating the physical mock circulation loop, and proved to be a useful tool in the development of improved cardiovascular device test rigs.
    Journal of Simulation 03/2010; 4(1). DOI:10.1057/jos.2009.15 · 0.58 Impact Factor
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