Abstract

Hydrocephalus is a condition that affects humans and animals in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up within the ventricles of the brain, causing an increase in intracranial pressure. The CSF can be released using a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which effectively removes the fluid from the ventricles of the brain to the peritoneal cavity. In canines, hydrocephalus is sometimes a fatal condition complicated by shunt failure due to obstructions. The medical procedure is also expensive and has a high failure rate over the long term.

In this paper, we present a systematic framework to carry out the multi-objective design exploration of canine shunts for managing hydrocephalus. We demonstrate the efficacy of the framework by designing a shunt prototype to meet specific goals of meeting the CSF flow rate target, minimizing shear stress on the shunt, and minimizing shunt weight. The shunt design variables considered for the problem include the inner diameter, inlet hole diameter, and the distance from the inlet holes to the outlet. A multi-objective design problem is formulated using the systematic framework to explore the combination of shunt design variables that best satisfy the conflicting goals defined. The framework and associated design constructs are generic and support the formulation and decision-based design of similar biomedical devices for different health conditions.

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