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Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology









To create and characterize a physical Windkessel module that can provide realistic and predictable vascular impedances for in vitro flow experiments used for computational fluid dynamics validation, and other investigations of the cardiovascular system and medical devices. We developed practical design and manufacturing methods for constructing flow resistance and capacitance units. Using these units we assembled a Windkessel impedance module and defined its corresponding analytical model incorporating an inductance to account for fluid momentum. We tested various resistance units and Windkessel modules using a flow system, and compared experimental measurements to analytical predictions of pressure, flow, and impedance. The resistance modules exhibited stable resistance values over wide ranges of flow rates. The resistance value variations of any particular resistor are typically within 5% across the range of flow that it is expected to accommodate under physiologic flow conditions. In the Windkessel impedance modules, the measured flow and pressure waveforms agreed very favorably with the analytical calculations for four different flow conditions used to test each module. The shapes and magnitudes of the impedance modulus and phase agree well between experiment and theoretical values, and also with those measured in vivo in previous studies. The Windkessel impedance module we developed can be used as a practical tool to provide realistic vascular impedance for in vitro cardiovascular studies. Upon proper characterization of the impedance module, its analytical model can accurately predict its measured behavior under different flow conditions.


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