Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Amy Throckmorton


Mechanical circulatory support options for patients with a failing Fontan physiology are significantly limited. This research advances the design of a cavopulmonary assist device as a bridge-to-transplant or bridge-to-recovery for Fontans. A fixed-bladed impeller and diffuser for this pump was designed and optimized using ANSYS CFX™ 12.1 software. Building upon the fixed bladed geometry, a novel flexible impeller prototype was created and evaluated by hydraulic testing. In contrast to the fixed design, the flexible impeller enabled a range of blade angles from 60°-150°. Improvement in pump performance was achieved. Pressure generation was found to decrease as a function of higher flow rates and increase as a function of faster rotational speeds and larger blade angles. The designs were able to produce 1-25 mmHg for 0.5-4 L/min at 5000-8000 RPM, which is sufficient to assist Fontan patients. The findings support the continued development of this blood pump with pitch-adjusting characteristics.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2012

Included in

Engineering Commons