In vitro cardiovascular system emulator (bioreactor) for the simulation of normal and diseased conditions with and without mechanical circulatory support

Paula Ruiz-Hincapie, Mohammad Amin Rezaienia, Akbar Rahideh, Thomas R. Keeble, Martin T. Rothman, Theodosios Korakianitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a new device designed to simulate in vitro flow rates, pressures, and other parameters representing normal and diseased conditions of the human cardiovascular system. Such devices are sometimes called bioreactors or "mock" simulator of cardiovascular loops (SCVLs) in literature. Most SCVLs simulate the systemic circulation only and have inherent limitations in studying the interaction of left and right sides of circulation. Those SCVLs that include both left and right sides of the circulation utilize header reservoirs simulating cycles with constant atrial pressures. The SCVL described in this article includes models for all four chambers of the heart, and the systemic and pulmonary circulation loops. Each heart chamber is accurately activated by a separate linear motor to simulate the suction and ejection stages, thus capturing important features in the perfusion waveforms. Four mechanical heart valves corresponding to mitral, pulmonary, tricuspid, and aortic are used to control the desired unidirectional flow. This SCVL can emulate different physiological and pathological conditions of the human cardiovascular system by controlling the different parameters of blood circulation through the vascular tree (mainly the resistance, compliance, and elastance of the heart chambers). In this study, four cases were simulated: healthy, congestive heart failure, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction conditions, and left ventricular dysfunction with the addition of a mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device. Hemodynamic parameters including resistance, pressure, and flow have been investigated at aortic sinus, carotid artery, and pulmonary artery, respectively. The addition of an MCS device resulted in a significant reduction in mean blood pressure and re-establishment of cardiac output. In all cases, the experimental results are compared with human physiology and numerical simulations. The results show the capability of the SCVL to replicate various physiological and pathological conditions with and without MCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-60
Number of pages12
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Bioreactors
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Heart
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart-Assist Devices
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular


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