Colacino, Francesco M., Arabia, M., Danieli, G., Moscato, F., Piedimonte, F., Nicosia, S., Valigi, P. and Pagnottelli, S.
Hybrid test bench for evaluation of any device related to mechanical cardiac assistance
The International Journal of Artificial Organs, 28, (8), .
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Hydraulic mock circulatory systems have low flexibility to allow tests of different cardiovascular devices and low precision when a reference model must be reproduced. In this paper a new bench is described. It combines the computer model of the environment in which the device will operate and the electro-hydraulic interfaces by which device and computer are connected. A models library provided with basic functions allows implementing many layouts of the bench, which in turn depend both on the device properties and the desired experiment. In case of an apical LVAD evaluation, the bench can reproduce right and left ventricles, pulmonary and systemic circulations, inlet and outlet LVAD cannulas. An interface forces the instantaneous calculated flow at the VAD input and feeds back the measured pressure to the computer; another interface works in a similar -but complementary- way at the VAD output. The paper focuses on the operating principle of the electro hydraulic interfaces which represent a relevant component of the bench, on the RT-Linux-based software architecture, on the models of the basic elements of the bench. A patent is under preparation. At the moment, only a portion of the bench has been developed. It consists of a piston-cylinder mechanism, which mimics the elastance-based mechanism of a natural ventricle, and a hydraulic circuit representing the arterial load according to a modified windkessel model and the venous return according to the Guyton's model. The pump is driven by a real-time simulation of the cardiovascular system. This preliminary layout allowed testing the piston-cylinder mechanism, its control, and the software. This electro-hydraulic interface has been used to reproduce a pulsatile pump working in different modes. The hybrid model approach can support the development of new cardiac assist devices from their computer model to their manufacture.
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