This study was designed to investigate the feasibility of a skeletal muscle pump employing latissimus dorsi muscle (LDM) for cardiac assistance. We developed and used a 2-dimensional mathematical model for LDM to investigate how the size of pneumatic balloons (30,38, and 45 ml) and the three different locations (proximal, center, and distal) affect the pressure applied to the balloon by LDM. The computer simulation was performed by coding a visco-elastic and nonlinear 2-dimensional program that employed the finite element method (FEM). The muscle specific parameters of LDM were obtained from animal experiment results. The model is based on Hill's characteristic equation and composed of a contractile component and a passive element. The simulation results indicated that the intermediate and largest sized balloon lead to the highest and the lowest power (volume reduction per unit time interval), respectively. On the other hand, when the balloon is inserted in the distal LDM, the power is lower than in the other two positions, regardless of the balloon size. The above results suggest that the optimal size of the balloon should be selected depending on the muscle specific parameters of the actuator, and that the balloon should be inserted either in the proximal portion or center of the actuator. ASAIO Journal 1997; 43:M781-M786.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.