An implantable artificial kidney using a hemofilter constructed from an array of silicon membranes to provide ultrafiltration requires a suitable blood flow path to ensure stable operation in vivo. Two types of flow paths distributing blood to the array of membranes were evaluated: parallel and serpentine. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were used to guide the development of the blood flow paths. Pressure data from animal tests were used to obtain pulsatile flow conditions imposed in the transient simulations. A key consideration for stable operation in vivo is limiting platelet stress accumulation to avoid platelet activation and thrombus formation. Platelet stress exposure was evaluated by CFD particle tracking methods through the devices to provide distributions of platelet stress accumulation. The distributions of stress accumulation over the duration of a platelet lifetime for each device revealed that stress accumulation for the serpentine flow path exceeded levels expected to cause platelet activation while the accumulated stress for the parallel flow path was below expected activation levels.
Keywords: Artificial kidney; Hemodynamics; Platelet stress accumulation; Thrombogenicity.
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