Evaluation of the thrombogenic risk: development of new approaches for the prediction of platelet activation and its minimisation in artificial organs and prostheses

People involved:Alberto Redaelli, Filippo Consolo

Funding source: Cariplo Foundation

Funding period: 2012 - 2015

Partners: State University of New York @ Stony Brook, Sarver Heart Center(University of Arizona)

Millions of cardiovascular disease patients worldwide are implanted with prosthetic devices. While these devices save lives, they promote blood clot formation and patients are required to take anticoagulants, which may slow the rate at which the patient’s blood clots.

The project aims at developing new approaches for the prediction of the flow-related thrombogenic risk, i.e. platelet activation due to shear stresses associated to local fluid dynamics, and its minimisation in artificial organs and prostheses, such as mechanical heart valves, devices for ventricular assistance and extracorporeal circulation, dyalizers. Flow-induced thrombogenicity in blood-contacting cardiovascular devices will be evaluated through a methodology that couples numerical methods, either based on computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) or fluid-structure interaction (FSI) models, with advanced experimental techniques for the in vitro quantification of platelet activation and the use of mathematical models for the prediction of blood damage.

The project foresees the recruitment of Danny Bluestein, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University, whose competences on platelet activation predictors will integrate the existing skills of the hosting research group (Biomechanics Group of the Politecnico di Milano). It is envisioned to develop a fully equipped laboratory to apply and improve his methodology for the quantification of thrombogenicity of blood-contacting cardiovascular devices. This approach allows predicting the effects of modifications to the design of a given device on its thrombogenicity, thus limiting the need for expensive and time-consuming experimental campaigns on real prototypes and for costly preclinical and clinical trials.