We have used experimental fluid mechanics to investigate the flow phenomena in distal protection devices (DPDs) used for carotid artery stenting, to assess the in vitro performance of these devices under simulated physiological blood flow and to optimize their design by means of computational fluid dynamics techniques. This work yielded the conceptual design of a cerebral protection device (disclosed to Carnegie Mellonís Center for Technology Transfer), and the critical analysis and comparison of similar art devices available in the market. The protocol designed for testing these DPDs is more rigorous and mimics better the in vivo flow conditions than that used by the leading medical device manufacturers, giving us a competitive edge and the increased interest by industry in the technology. Additionally, we have designed and optimized, based on the fluid mechanics principle of the Coanda effect, a novel interventional catheter for arterio-venous graft and lower extremity artery de-clotting to break down and aspirate thrombi. Bench-top testing of catheter prototypes under simulated blood flow conditions has been used to validate the numerical predictions of flow patterns and flow-based indicators of catheter performance. Similarly, our group has designed a novel device for entrapment and retrieval of blood clots and thrombi, leading to a disclosure of invention and provisional patent application No. US 60/997,137.

Steady flow through a distal protection device deployed within a patient-specific carotid artery model.