Kelley Stewart, a doctoral student working in the lab of Paul Vlachos, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Advanced Experimental Thermofluid Engineering Research Lab at Virginia Tech, looks into a left ventricular simulator tank. The compliant silicone model left ventricle has two valves connecting the ventricle to the remaining working fluid outside of the tank. This closed loop system allows researchers to vary the stroke volume, heart rate and pressures associated with a left ventricular filling to simulate the varying stages of diastolic dysfunction. Vlachos and his students hope to develop novel tools for diagnosing, monitoring and treating heart disease, as well as improve existing ones.
Credit: John McCormick, courtesy Virginia Tech