Aortic outflow cannula tip design and orientation impacts cerebral perfusion during pediatric cardiopulmonary bypass procedures

Prahlad G. Menon, James F. Antaki, Akif Undar, Kerem Pekkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Poor perfusion of the aortic arch is a suspected cause for peri-and post-operative neurological complications associated with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). High-speed jets from 8 to 10FR pediatric/neonatal cannulae delivering ~1 L/min of blood can accrue sub-lethal hemolytic damage while also subjecting the aorta to non-physiologic flow conditions that compromise cerebral perfusion. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of cannulation strategy and hypothesize engineering better CPB perfusion through a redesigned aortic cannula tip. This study employs computational fluid dynamics to investigate novel diffuser-tipped aortic cannulae for shape sensitivity to cerebral perfusion, in an in silico cross-clamped aortic arch model modeled with fixed outflow resistances. 17 parametrically altered configurations of an 8FR end-hole and several diffuser cone angled tips in combination with jet incidence angles toward or away from the head-neck vessels were studied. Experimental pressure-flow characterizations were also conducted on these cannula tip designs. An 8FR end-hole aortic cannula delivering 1 L/min along the transverse aortic arch was found to give rise to backflow from the brachicephalic artery (BCA), irrespective of angular orientation, for the chosen ascending aortic insertion location. Parametric alteration of the cannula tip to include a diffuser cone angle (tested up to 7) eliminated BCA backflow for any tested angle of jet incidence. Experiments revealed that a 1 cm long 10 diffuser cone tip demonstrated the best pressure-flow performance improvement in contrast with either an end-hole tip or diffuser cone angles greater than 10. Performance further improved when the diffuser was preceded by an expanded four-lobe swirl inducer attachment-a novel component. In conclusion, aortic cannula orientation is crucial in determining net head-neck perfusion but precise angulations and insertion-depths are difficult to achieve practically. Altering the cannula tip to include a diffuser cone angle has been shown for the first time to have potential in ensuring a net positive outflow at the BCA. Cannula insertion distanced from the BCA inlet may also avoid backflow owing to the Venturi effect, but the diffuser tipped cannula design presents a promising solution to mitigate this issue irrespective of in vivo cannula tip orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2588-2602
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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