Congenital heart disease is the leading cause of infant death in the United States with over 36,000 newborns affected each year. Despite this growing problem there are few mechanical circulatory support devices designed specifically for pediatric and neonate patients. Previous research has been done investigating pediatric ventricular assist devices (PVADs) assuming blood to be a Newtonian fluid in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, ignoring its viscoelastic and shear-thinning properties. In contrast to adult VADs, PVADs may be more susceptible to hemolysis and thrombosis due to altered flow into the aorta, and therefore, a more accurate blood model should be used. A CFD solver that incorporates a modified Oldroyd-B model designed specifically for pediatric blood is used to investigate important hemodynamic parameters in a pediatric aortic model under pulsatile flow conditions. These results are compared to Newtonian blood simulations at three physiological pediatric hematocrits. Minor differences are seen in both velocity and wall shear stress (WSS) during early stages of the cardiac cycle between the Newtonian and viscoelastic models. During diastole, significant differences are seen in the velocities in the descending aorta (up to 12%) and in the aortic branches (up to 30%) between the two models. Additionally, peak WSS differences are seen between the models throughout the cardiac cycle. At the onset of diastole, peak WSS differences of 43% are seen between the Newtonian and viscoelastic model and between the 20 and 60% hematocrit viscoelastic models at peak systole of 41%.
Keywords: Computational fluid dynamics; Oldroyd-B; Viscoelasticity; Wall shear stress.