Microfluidic approaches for the assessment of blood cell trauma: A focus on thrombotic risk in mechanical circulatory support devices

Filippo Consolo, Annalisa Dimasi, Marco Rasponi, Lorenzo Valerio, Federico Pappalardo, Danny Bluestein, Marvin J. Slepian, Gianfranco Beniamino Fiore, Alberto Redaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: Mechanical circulatory support devices (MCSDs) are emerging as a valuable therapeutic option for the management of end-stage heart failure. However, although recipients are routinely administered with anti-thrombotic (AT) drugs, thrombosis persists as a severe post-implant complication. Conventional clinical assays and coagulation markers demonstrate partial ability in preventing the onset of thrombosis. Through years, different laboratory techniques have been proposed as potential tools for the evaluation of platelets’ hemostatic response in MCSD recipients. Most rely on platelet aggregation tests; they are performed in static or low shear conditions, neglecting the prominent contribution of MCSD shear-induced mechanical load in enhancing platelet activation (PA). On the other hand, those tests able to account for shear-induced PA have limited possibility of effective clinical translation. Aims and Methods: Advances on this side have been addressed by microfluidic technology. Microfluidic devices have been developed for AT drug monitoring under flow, able to replicate physiological and/or constant shear flow conditions in vitro. In this paper, we present a newly developed microfluidic platform able to expose platelets to MCSD-specific dynamic shear stress patterns. We performed in vitro tests circulating human platelets in the microfluidic platform and quantifying the dynamics of PA by means of the Platelet Activity State (PAS) assay. Results: Our results prove the feasibility of using microfluidics for the diagnosis of MCSD-related thrombotic risk. This study paves the way for the development of a miniaturized point-of-care device for monitoring AT drug regimen. Such a system may have significant impact on limiting the incidence of thrombosis in MCSD recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Mechanical circulatory support devices
  • Microfluidics
  • Platelet activation
  • Point-of-care
  • Thrombogenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials


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