Feedback controller, Left ventricular assist device, bio mechanical modeling, aortic valve dynamics


A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump that helps patients with heart failure conditions. This rotary pump works in parallel to the ailing heart and provides an alternative path for blood flow from the weak left ventricle to the aorta. The LVAD is controlled by the power supplied to the pump motor. An increase in the pump motor power increases the pump speed and the pump flow. The LVAD is typically controlled at a fixed setting of pump power. This basically means that the controller does not react to any change in the activity level of the patient. An important engineering challenge is to develop an LVAD feedback controller that can automatically adjusts its pump motor power so that the resulting pump flow matches the physiological demand of the patient. To this end, the development of a mathematical model that can be used to accurately simulate the interaction between the cardiovascular system of the patient and the LVAD is essential for the controller design. The use of such a dynamic model helps engineers and physicians in testing their theories, assessing the effectiveness of prescribed treatments, and understanding in depth the characteristics of this coupled bio-mechanical system. The first contribution of this dissertation is the development of a pump power-based model for the cardiovascular-LVAD system. Previously, the mathematical models in the literature assume availability of the pump speed as an independent control variable. In reality, however, the device is controlled by pump motor power which, in turn, produces the rotational pump speed. The nonlinear relationship between the supplied power and the speed is derived, and interesting observations about the pump speed signal are documented. The second contribution is the development of a feedback controller for patients using an LVAD as either a destination therapy or a bridge to transplant device. The main objective of designing this controller is to provide a physiological demand of the patient equivalent of that of a healthy individual. Since the device is implanted for a long period of time, this objective is chosen to allow the patient to live a life as close to normal as possible. The third contribution is an analysis of the aortic valve dynamics under the support of an LVAD. The aortic valve may experiences a permanent closure when the LVAD pump power is increased too much. The permanent closure of the aortic valve can be very harmful to the patients using the device as a bridge to recovery treatments. The analysis illustrates the various changes in the hemodynamic variables of the patient as a result of aortic valve closing. The results establish the relationship between the activity level and the heart failure severity with respect to the duration of the aortic valve opening.


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Graduation Date





Simaan, Marwan


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic