"You may have the most efficient heart pump in the world, but if it's damaging the blood, you have to start over,” says Burgreen, associate research professor at the simulation centre of the university's Engineering Research Center.
The latest heart pump used in adults are only the size of D-cell batteries, but still creates blood-flow problems in children because of their smaller body size and limited blood volume, so Burgreen.
"Our aim is to miniaturise an adult-size pump for use in a child or infant,” he says. "However, at that size, the rotor or turbine inside the pump would have to turn at 24,000 rpm. You want to make sure the blood is not being damaged.”
Despite the enormity of the challenge, he said researchers at Mississippi State aim to design a pump no larger than the size of an AA battery for children - and about half that size for infants. "But,” Burgreen cautions, "there's a limit to what man can do through engineering to replicate what our Creator has done perfectly.”
"I spent eight years learning about the complexities of blood flow in a biomedical device,” he says. "During that time, we literally went from a napkin sketch to a finished, implantable prototype.”
Burgreen creates mathematical algorithms and applies computational fluid dynamics to blood-flow models, providing new computer software tools to help perfect smaller and more efficient artificial hearts.
Currently, Burgreen is developing a "new generation simulation software” that can be broadly applied to integrate design and analysis research across diverse disciplines such as computer-aided design, computational structural mechanics, turbulence modelling, heat transfer and multi-component fluid flow.
"We're distilling ten years of trial and error, successes and failures, and drawing it together into a package we think will be revolutionary,” he shares his hopes.
MEDICA.de; Source: Mississippi State University