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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 1 (1995), Issue 3, Pages 245-254

Mathematical problems in modeling artificial heart

Department of Electrical Engineering, Department of Mathematics, University of Ottawa, Canada

Received 24 February 1995

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this paper we discuss some problems arising in mathematical modeling of artificial hearts. The hydrodynamics of blood flow in an artificial heart chamber is governed by the Navier-Stokes equation, coupled with an equation of hyperbolic type subject to moving boundary conditions. The flow is induced by the motion of a diaphragm (membrane) inside the heart chamber attached to a part of the boundary and driven by a compressor (pusher plate). On one side of the diaphragm is the blood and on the other side is the compressor fluid. For a complete mathematical model it is necessary to write the equation of motion of the diaphragm and all the dynamic couplings that exist between its position, velocity and the blood flow in the heart chamber. This gives rise to a system of coupled nonlinear partial differential equations; the Navier-Stokes equation being of parabolic type and the equation for the membrane being of hyperbolic type. The system is completed by introducing all the necessary static and dynamic boundary conditions. The ultimate objective is to control the flow pattern so as to minimize hemolysis (damage to red blood cells) by optimal choice of geometry, and by optimal control of the membrane for a given geometry. The other clinical problems, such as compatibility of the material used in the construction of the heart chamber, and the membrane, are not considered in this paper. Also the dynamics of the valve is not considered here, though it is also an important element in the overall design of an artificial heart. We hope to model the valve dynamics in later paper.