Computational fluid dynamics analysis of surgical adjustment of left ventricular assist device implantation to minimise stroke risk
Abbreviated Journal Title
Comput. Methods Biomech. Biomed. Eng.
LVAD; CFD; Lagrangian tracking; thromboembolism; MECHANICAL CIRCULATORY SUPPORT; MOLECULAR-WEIGHT HEPARIN; CONTINUOUS-FLOW; AORTIC-ARCH; HEART-FAILURE; DEBAKEY VAD; BLOOD-FLOW; TRANSPLANTATION; EXPERIENCE; SIMULATION; Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Applications; Engineering, ; Biomedical
Background. Currently, mechanical support is the most promising alternative to cardiac transplantation. Ventricular assist devices (VADs) were originally used to provide mechanical circulatory support in patients awaiting planned heart transplantation (bridge-to-transplantation' therapy). The success of short-term bridge devices led to clinical trials evaluating the clinical suitability of long-term support (destination' therapy) with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). The first larger scale, randomised trial that tested long-term support with an LVAD reported a 44% reduction in the risk of stroke or death in patients with an LVAD. In spite of the success of LVADs as bridge-to-transplantation and long-term support, patients managed by these devices are still at risk of several adverse events. The most devastating complication is caused by embolisation of thrombi formed within the LVAD or inside the heart into the brain. Prevention of thrombi formation is attempted through anticoagulation management and by improving LVADs design; however, there is still significant occurrence of thromboembolic events in patients. Investigators have reported that the incidence of thromboembolic cerebral events ranges from 14% to 47% over a period of 6-12 months.Methods and approach. An alternative method to reduce the incidence of cerebral embolisation is proposed by the co-authors, and the hypothesis is that it is possible to minimise the number of thrombi flowing into the carotid and vertebral arteries by an optimal placement of the LVAD outflow conduit, with or without the addition of aortic bypass connecting the ascending aorta and the innominate artery (IA), or left carotid artery. This paper presents the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the aortic arch haemodynamics using a representative geometry of the human aortic arch with or without an alternative aortic bypass. In order to study the trajectory of the thrombi within the aortic arch bed, the CFD code, Fluent 6.3, is utilised to resolve the flow field and to solve the Lagrangian particle tracking of thrombi released randomly at the inlet of the LVAD cannula.Results. Results are presented for simulations of thrombi in the range of 2-5mm. The percentage of individual diameter as well as aggregate diameter thrombi flowing to the carotid and vertebral arteries as a function of LVAD conduit placement and aortic bypass implantation is reported. The influence of the LVAD conduit implantation and bypass reveals a nearly 50% variation in predicted cerebral embolism rates.Conclusions. The adjustment of the location of the anastomosis of the LVAD outflow cannula as well as its angle of incidence plays a significant role in the level of thromboembolisms. By proper adjustment in this CFD study of a synthetic model of an aortic arch bed, we found that nearly a 50% reduction in cerebral embolism could be achieved for a configuration consisting of a shallow angle of implantation over a baseline normal incidence of the LVAD cannula. Within the limitations of our model, we have established that the LVAD implantation geometry is an important factor and should be taken into consideration when implanting an LVAD. It is possible that other parameters such as distance of the LVAD outflow cannula to the root of the IA could affect the thrombi embolisation probabilities. However, the results of this study suggest that the risk of stroke may be significantly reduced by as much as 50% by tailoring the VAD implantation by a simple surgical manoeuvre. The results of this line of research may ultimately lead to techniques that can be used to estimate the optimal LVAD configuration in a patient-specific manner by pre-operative imaging.
Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
"Computational fluid dynamics analysis of surgical adjustment of left ventricular assist device implantation to minimise stroke risk" (2013). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 4500.