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for the Shell Innovation Award
An in-vitro model replicating the physiological urodynamics of the urinary system
Group Members
David Angell, Ian Hind Escolano, Oliver Pattinson, Weldon Wong, Krystal Yap
Dr Dario Carugo, Bram Sengers
With an ageing population, urological dysfunctions are becoming a more prominent issue and therefore the urological device market is an area experiencing continual growth. Several evaluation stages must be passed for a urological device to be brought to market, including costly in-vivo testing. A model replicating the physiological urodynamics of the human urinary system has potential to be used for bench-testing of devices, significantly reducing the time and cost required to bring a device to market.

A dynamic physical model, capable of capturing the urodynamic complexities present within the urinary system, is not currently available. This project aimed to tackle this by designing, manufacturing and testing a model capable of replicating the peristaltic motion present in the ureters and the micturition cycle of the bladder. The subsequent model could be used as an aid for research academics and clinicians, as well as industrial R&D departments, to optimise urological devices, including ureteric stents and catheters.

The model comprised of the ureter, bladder and the urethra, and was automated using LabVIEW. Peristaltic motion along the ureter was replicated through an electric gripper attached to a linear actuator to compress a tube, forming a bolus travelling along its length. Priming and voiding of the bladder was achieved through variation of air pressure within a pressurised box containing the bladder. The urethral sphincter was modelled using a mechanical gripper, which was closed during priming and opened during voiding. Flow rates throughout the model were measured and compared with literature to validate the model.
Ureter sub-system.
Pressure box containing bladder.
Exploded view of pressure box and bladder components.