The accumulation of particles in ureteric stents is mediated by flow dynamics: Full-scale computational and experimental modeling of the occluded and unoccluded ureter
Mosayyebi A., Vijayakumar A., Mosayebi M., Lange D., Somani BK., Manes C., Carugo D.
Ureteric stents are clinically deployed to restore urinary drainage in the presence of ureteric occlusions. They consist of a hollow tube with multiple side-holes that enhance urinary drainage. The stent surface is often subject to encrustation (induced by crystals-forming bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis) or particle accumulation, which may compromise stent's drainage performance. Limited research has, however, been conducted to evaluate the relationship between flow dynamics and accumulation of crystals in stents. Here, we employed a full-scale architecture of the urinary system to computationally investigate the flow performance of a ureteric stent and experimentally determine the level of particle accumulation over the stent surface. Particular attention was given to side-holes, as they play a pivotal role in enhancing urinary drainage. Results demonstrated that there exists an inverse correlation between wall shear stress (WSS) and crystal accumulation at side-holes. Specifically, side-holes with greater WSS levels were those characterized by inter-compartmental fluid exchange between the stent and ureter. These “active” side-holes were located either nearby ureteric obstructions or at regions characterized by a physiological constriction of the ureter. Results also revealed that the majority of side-holes (>60%) suffer from low WSS levels and are, thus, prone to crystals accumulation. Moreover, side-holes located toward the proximal region of the ureter presented lower WSS levels compared to more distal ones, thus suffering from greater particle accumulation. Overall, findings corroborate the role of WSS in modulating the localization and extent of particle accumulation in ureteric stents.