Coupling pediatric ventricle assist devices to the Fontan circulation: Simulations with a lumped-parameter model

Kerem Pekkan, David Frakes, Diane De Zelicourt, Carol W. Lucas, W. James Parks, Ajit P. Yoganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


In pediatric ventricular assist device (VAD) design, the process of matching device characteristics and dimensions to the relevant disease conditions poses a formidable challenge because the disease spectrum is more highly varied than for adult applications. One example arises with single-ventricle congenital defects, which demand palliative surgeries that create elevated systemic venous pressure and altered pulmonary hemodynamics. Substituting a mechanical pump as a right ventricle has long been proposed to eliminate the associated early and postoperative anomalies. A pulsatile lumped-parameter model of the single-ventricle circulation was developed to guide the preliminary design studies. Two special modules, the pump characteristics and the total cavopulmonary connection (TCPC) module, are introduced. The TCPC module incorporates the results of three-dimensional patient-specific computational fluid dynamics calculations, where the pressure drop in the TCPC anastomosis is calculated at the equal vascular lung resistance operating point for different cardiac outputs at a steady 60/40 inferior vena cava/superior vena cava flow split. Preliminary results obtained with the adult parameters are presented with no ventricle remodeling or combined larger-size single ventricle. A detailed literature review of single-ventricle function is provided. Coupling a continuous pump to the single-ventricle circulation brought both the pulmonary and systemic venous pressures back to manageable levels. Selected VADs provided an acceptable cardiac output trace of the single left ventricle, after initial transients. Remodeling of the systemic venous compliance plays a critical role in performance and is included in this study. Pulsatile operation mode with rotational speed regulation highlighted the importance of TCPC and pulmonary artery compliances. Four different pumps and three patient-specific anatomical TCPC pathologies were studied. Magnitudes of the equivalent TCPC resistances were found to be comparable to the vascular resistances of the normal baseline circulation, significantly affecting both the VAD design and hemodynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-628
Number of pages11
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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