Experimental fluid mechanics of pulsatile artificial blood pumps

Steven Deutsch, John M. Tarbell, Keefe B. Manning, Gerson Rosenberg, Arnold A. Fontaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The fluid mechanics of artificial blood pumps has been studied since the early 1970s in an attempt to understand and mitigate hemolysis and thrombus formation by the device. Pulsatile pumps are characterized by inlet jets that set up a rotational "washing" pattern during filling. Strong regurgitant jets through the closed artificial heart valves have Reynolds stresses on the order of 10,000 dynes/cm2 and are the most likely cause of red blood cell damage and platelet activation. Although the flow in the pump chamber appears benign, low wall shear stresses throughout the pump cycle can lead to thrombus formation at the wall of the smaller pumps (10-50 cc). The local fluid mechanics is critical. There is a need to rapidly measure or calculate the wall shear stress throughout the device so that the results may be easily incorporated into the design process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-86
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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