Examining the universality of the hemolysis power law model from simulations of the FDA nozzle using calibrated model coefficients

Alberto Mantegazza, Nicolas Tobin, Keefe B. Manning, Brent A. Craven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is widely used to predict mechanical hemolysis in medical devices. The most popular hemolysis model is the stress-based power law model that is based on an empirical correlation between hemoglobin release from red blood cells (RBCs) and the magnitude of flow-induced stress and exposure time. Empirical coefficients are traditionally calibrated using data from experiments in simplified Couette-type blood-shearing devices with uniform-shear laminar flow and well-defined exposure times. Use of such idealized coefficients in simulations of real medical devices with complex hemodynamics is thought to be a primary reason for the historical inaccuracy of absolute hemolysis predictions using the power law model. Craven et al. (Biomech Model Mechanobiol 18:1005–1030, 2019) recently developed a CFD-based Kriging surrogate modeling approach for calibrating empirical coefficients in real devices that could potentially be used to more accurately predict absolute hemolysis. In this study, we use the FDA benchmark nozzle to investigate whether utilizing such calibrated coefficients improves the predictive accuracy of the standard Eulerian power law model. We first demonstrate the credibility of our CFD flow simulations by comparing with particle image velocimetry measurements. We then perform hemolysis simulations and compare the results with in vitro experiments. Importantly, the simulations use coefficients calibrated for the flow of a suspension of bovine RBCs through a small capillary tube, which is relatively comparable to the flow of bovine blood through the FDA nozzle. The results show that the CFD predictions of relative hemolysis in the FDA nozzle are reasonably accurate. The absolute predictions are, however, highly inaccurate with modified index of hemolysis values from CFD in error by roughly three orders of magnitude compared with the experiments, despite using calibrated model coefficients from a relatively similar geometry. We rigorously examine the reasons for the inaccuracy that include differences in the flow conditions in the hemolytic regions of each device and the lack of universality of the hemolysis power law model that is entirely empirical. Thus, while the capability to predict relative hemolysis is valuable for product development, further improvements are needed before the power law model can be relied upon to accurately predict the absolute hemolytic potential of a medical device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-451
Number of pages19
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Examining the universality of the hemolysis power law model from simulations of the FDA nozzle using calibrated model coefficients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this