Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences

First Advisor

Venkat Keshav Chivukula

Second Advisor

Mehmet Kaya

Third Advisor

James R. Brenner

Fourth Advisor

Manolis Tomadakis


Heart failure (HF) is one of the leading causes of deaths for adults worldwide, but has disproportionately significant effects on pediatric patients that are often overshadowed. Treatment options for pediatric patients with HF are extremely limited, resulting in increased mortality rates within hospitals. Patients often depend on ventricular assist device (VAD) support as a bridge to transplant. The Berlin Heart EXCOR is the only FDA approved device for pediatric use in the US. However, many hemodynamic and neurological complications continue to arise; for instance, up to 30% of EXCOR patients suffer from stroke. Currently, there is no effective way to monitor the EXCOR device operation in a clinical setting. If there was a way to monitor the device quickly and efficiently, patient outcomes could be improved. The objective of this thesis is to develop a pediatric heart assist device monitoring system that can be used in a clinical setting to analyze device function. A mock cardiovascular flow loop incorporating dedicated pressure and flow sensors was developed in order to simulate several clinical settings a pediatric patient would experience. A custom EXCOR driving unit (CEDU) was developed and tuned in order to pump a functioning EXCOR device in a programmable and repeatable manner. The monitoring system relies on mobile device video recordings (to mimic a clinical setting) to analyze the function of the EXCOR. These videos, as well as clinical data, are analyzed using an in-house algorithm that quantifies the EXCOR membrane operation for each cardiac cycle. The results of each experiment are compared to those of a fully functional EXCOR device. Using the in-house developed algorithm, it was found that the EXCOR device reacted differently to different types of hemodynamic stimuli introduced to the flow loop, and this difference in EXCOR operation could be quantified and compared to ideal operating characteristics. In summary, this project provides a unique platform to rigorously analyze EXCOR membrane operation towards developing quantitative analytics that can be used in the clinic to improve patient monitoring and overall patient outcomes.