Experimental Hemodynamics Within the Penn State Fontan Circulatory Assist Device

Sailahari V. Ponnaluri, Emma J. Christensen, Bryan C. Good, Cody J. Kubicki, Steven Deutsch, Joshua P. Cysyk, William J. Weiss, Keefe B. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


For children born with a single functional ventricle, the Fontan operation bypasses the right ventricle by forming a four-way total cavopulmonary connection and adapts the existing ventricle for the systemic circulation. However, upon reaching adulthood, many Fontan patients exhibit low cardiac output and elevated venous pressure, eventually requiring a heart transplantation. Despite efforts in developing a new device or using an existing device for failing Fontan support, there is still no Food and Drug Administration-approved device for subpulmonary support. Penn State University is developing a hydrodynamically levitated Fontan circulatory assist device (FCAD) for bridge-to-transplant or destination therapy. The hemodynamics within the FCAD, at both steady and patient averaged pulsatile conditions for three physiological pump operating conditions, were quantified using particle image velocimetry (PIV) to determine the velocity magnitudes and Reynolds normal and shear stresses within the device. Data were acquired at three planes (0 mm and ±25% of the radius) for the inferior and superior vena cavae inlets and the pulmonary artery outlet. The inlets had a blunt velocity profile that became skewed toward the collecting volute as fluid approached the rotor. At the outlet, regardless of the flow condition, a high-velocity jet exited the volute and moved downstream in a helical pattern. Turbulent stresses observed at the volute exit were influenced by the rotor's rotation. Regardless of inlet conditions, the pump demonstrated advantageous behavior for clinical use with a predictable flow field and a low risk of platelet adhesion and hemolysis based on calculated wall shear rates and turbulent stresses, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number071004
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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