Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


David Clague


Ischemia caused by particles becoming dislodged during transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a possible complication of TAVR. The particles that become dislodged can travel out of the aortic valve, into the aortic arch, and then into either the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, the left subclavian artery or continue into the descending aorta. If the particles continue into the descending aorta it poses no risk of causing ischemia however if it travels into the other arteries then it increases the possibility of the particle causing an ischemic event. The goal of this study is to determine what parameters cause the particle to enter one artery over another. The parameters analyzed are the particle diameter, the particle density, the blood pressure, and the diameter of the catheter used in the surgery. This was done by creating a finite element model in COMSOL Multiphysics® to track the particles flowing through a scan of an actual aortic arch. It was determined that the particle diameter, particle density, and the blood pressure affect which artery the particles take to exit the aortic arch. However the diameter of the surgical catheter used in a transaortic approach is not statistically significant when determining which artery the particles will exit. The study shows that larger diameter particle would lead to a higher transmissions probability into the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery while a smaller diameter particle would have a higher transmission probability for the descending aorta. Averaging all particle diameters, densities and blood pressure found that 54.95 ± 13.66% of the particles released will travel into the cerebral circulatory system.