Comparison of symmetric hemodialysis catheters using computational fluid dynamics

Timothy W I Clark, Giuseppe Isu, Diego Gallo, Pascal Verdonck, Umberto Morbiducci
Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology: JVIR 2015, 26 (2): 252-9.e2

PURPOSE: Symmetric-tip dialysis catheters have become alternative devices because of low access recirculation and ease of tip positioning. Flow characteristics of three symmetric catheters were compared based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as they relate to catheter function.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In Palindrome, GlidePath, and VectorFlow catheters, a computational fluid dynamics-based approach was used to assess (i) regions of flow separation, which are prone to thrombus development; (ii) shear-induced platelet activation potency; (iii) recirculation; and (iv) venous outflow deflection. A steady-state, laminar flow model simulated catheter tip position within the superior vena cava. Catheter performance was investigated at high hemodialysis flow rate (400 mL/min). Blood was assumed as a Newtonian fluid.

RESULTS: Wide regions of flow separation downstream of the Palindrome side slot and close to the distal tip were observed in forward and reversed line configurations. Geometric asymmetry of the distal guide wire aperture of the GlidePath catheter produced the highest levels of inverted velocity flow when run in reversed configuration. The lowest mean shear-induced platelet activation was exhibited by GlidePath and VectorFlow catheters; the Palindrome catheter exhibited 152% higher overall platelet activation potency. All catheters were associated with a recirculation close to zero; the helically contoured lumens of the VectorFlow catheter produced the greatest amount of deflection of venous flow away from the arterial lumen.

CONCLUSIONS: The VectorFlow catheter produced less shear-induced platelet activation than the Palindrome catheter and less flow separation than the Palindrome and GlidePath catheters irrespective of line configuration. These findings have potential implications for differences in thrombogenic risk during clinical performance of these catheters.

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