The long range goal is the development of a clinically useful, implantable, skeletal muscle powered cardiac assist device (MCAD). To accomplish this goal, two criteria must be met: good anatomic fit, and antithrombogenicity. Because of the relative locations of the latissimus dorsi (LD) muscle and aorta, there are two possible port arrangements: 'crisscrossed' (C design), in which the ports are crossed to anastomotic sites, and 'prong' shaped (P design), in which no crossover takes place. The purpose of this paper is to determine which of these designs is best from a fluid dynamic perspective, and hence has the best possibility for low thrombogenicity. Flow visualization (FV) techniques were used during two pumping conditions in a mock loop: worst case (MCAD off) and best case (MCAD driven optimally). Results of the MCAD off tests showed that both designs required immediate actuation (for example, an IABP console). However, FV studies under optimal conditions indicated superiority of the C design, most likely due to kinetic energy-induced rotary motion combined with a minimal interport distance. It is concluded that the C design provides ideal flow dynamics, even in valveless pumps, and also has application to valved devices.
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