Performance of a cardiac assist device pumping chamber in counterpulsation was evaluated using numerical simulations of the unsteady, three-dimensional flow inside the chamber and an analytical model of the force required to eject and fill the chamber. The wall shear stress within the device was similarly computed and modeled. The analytical model was scaled to match the numerical results and then used to predict performance at physiological operating conditions. According to these models for a stroke volume of 70 ml, between 0.4 and 1.0 W is required for counterpulsation at a frequency of 1.33 Hz against a restorative spring, depending on the spring constant chosen. The power and the maximum force calculated are within the ranges a trained skeletal muscle is capable of providing. Shear stress predictions show that platelet activation in the absence of surface effects and hemolysis due to high shear are unlikely to occur with this design. Furthermore, vortices that develop in the chamber during filling are predicted to increase blood mixing and provide favorable washing of the chamber walls. A computational-analytical approach such as this may have potential to aid rapid performance evaluation of new devices and streamline the design optimization process.

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