Endovascular treatments, such as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), carry a risk of embolization due to debris dislodgement during various procedural steps. Although embolic filters are already available and marketed, mechanisms underlying cerebral embolism still need to be elucidated in order to further reduce cerebrovascular events.
We propose an experimental framework with an in silico duplicate allowing release of particles at the level of the aortic valve and their subsequent capture in the supra-aortic branches, simulating embolization under constant inflow and controlled hemodynamic conditions. The effect of a simple flow modulation, consisting of an auxiliary constant flow via the right subclavian artery (RSA), on the amount of particle entering the brachiocephalic trunk was investigated. Preliminary computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed in order to assess the minimum retrograde flow-rate from RSA required to deviate particles.
Our results show that a constant reversed auxiliary flow of 0.5 L/min from the RSA under a constant inflow of 4 L/min from the ascending aorta is able to protect the brachiocephalic trunk from particle embolisms. Both computational and experimental results also demonstrate that the distribution of the bulk flow dictates the distribution of the particles along the aortic branches. This effect has also shown to be independent of release location and flow rate.
The present study confirms that the integration of in vitro experiments and in silico analyses allows designing and benchmarking novel solutions for cerebral embolic protection during TAVI such as the proposed embo-deviation technique based on an auxiliary retrograde flow from the right subclavian artery.