A Mock Circulatory System Incorporating a Compliant 3D-Printed Anatomical Model to Investigate Pulmonary Hemodynamics

Paul G.M. Knoops*, Giovanni Biglino, Alun D. Hughes, Kim H. Parker, Linzhang Xu, Silvia Schievano, Ryo Torii

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)


A realistic mock circulatory system (MCS) could be a valuable in vitro testbed to study human circulatory hemodynamics. The objective of this study was to design a MCS replicating the pulmonary arterial circulation, incorporating an anatomically representative arterial model suitable for testing clinically relevant scenarios. A second objective of the study was to ensure the system's compatibility with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for additional measurements. A latex pulmonary arterial model with two generations of bifurcations was manufactured starting from a 3D-printed mold reconstructed from patient data. The model was incorporated into a MCS for in vitro hydrodynamic measurements. The setup was tested under physiological pulsatile flow conditions and results were evaluated using wave intensity analysis (WIA) to investigate waves traveling in the arterial system. Increased pulmonary vascular resistance (IPVR) was simulated as an example of one pathological scenario. Flow split between right and left pulmonary artery was found to be realistic (54 and 46%, respectively). No substantial difference in pressure waveform was observed throughout the various generations of bifurcations. Based on WIA, three main waves were identified in the main pulmonary artery (MPA), that is, forward compression wave, backward compression wave, and forward expansion wave. For IPVR, a rise in mean pressure was recorded in the MPA, within the clinical range of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The feasibility of using the MCS in the MRI scanner was demonstrated with the MCS running 2 h consecutively while acquiring preliminary MRI data. This study shows the development and verification of a pulmonary MCS, including an anatomically correct, compliant latex phantom. The setup can be useful to explore a wide range of hemodynamic questions, including the development of patient- and pathology-specific models, considering the ease and low cost of producing rapid prototyping molds, and the versatility of the setup for invasive and noninvasive (i.e., MRI) measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-646
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • 3D printing
  • Mock circulatory system
  • Pulmonary artery
  • Wave intensity analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'A Mock Circulatory System Incorporating a Compliant 3D-Printed Anatomical Model to Investigate Pulmonary Hemodynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this