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Closing the Loop on Medical Device Systems Simulation: An Insulin Delivery Systems Example

insulin_pumpGreat products are composed of great individual components that are increasingly assessed from every possible physical perspective. But as you probably know, optimally designed components do not necessarily result in optimal systems. Eventually, the components are assembled, powered, sensed and controlled as an integrated system, and must therefore be simulated as a system to meet peak performance requirements and stringent safety standards. But building and testing integrated product systems and subsystems can be costly and may not identify optimal configurations and/or potential shortcomings. Systems simulation can help to overcome this challenge.

Computational modeling is a recognized by both industry and regulatory agencies as an alternative to physical testing, but it has historically been used in silos with minimal collaboration between various design disciplines and engineering departments. You may be working on one thing while your colleagues are working on another — and there is little to no communication among the teams. To address the needs of today’s product development teams, ANSYS has developed a multi-domain, system simulation and digital prototyping platform that enables multi-specialty teams with diverse engineering backgrounds to work in unison to achieve a deep understanding of integrated product behavior. We’ve put together a systems simulation demo video (below) of a digital system prototype of a wearable insulin pump that illustrates the complexities of developing these multi-disciplinary systems. 

Like many other medical devices, an insulin pump is composed of integrated systems of electronic, fluidic and mechanical components. These components, and their associated systems and subsystems, are driven by control algorithms that deliver a drug to the patient based on inputs collected through the user interface (display). Thus, understanding and optimizing pump performance requires single, multiple and multiphysics simulations, along with a platform that permits the integration of multi-domain models with embedded software.

For an insulin pump, the systems, subsystems, and components that help to ensure accurate and reliable drug delivery include:

  • an infusion set, which is composed of the catheter and needle/cannula that provide the fluidic pathway for delivering a prescribed dose of insulin to the patient,
  • a sensing system, which assists with detecting occlusion of the drug delivery path,
  • a wireless communication system to exchange information with a peripheral monitoring device and/or health care provider, and;
  • the embedded software that controls the various actions of the pump and provides a patient-friendly interface.

Multi-domain model of the drug delivery sub-system of an insulin pump

Properly designing and optimizing each of these requires meticulous attention to detail since failure could come from a variety of sources, putting the patients’ health at risk. The demo video below provides more information on how ANSYS tools can help you to model these aspects and others individually and as connected systems, ultimately leading to a more robust and reliable device.

And to dive deeper into some of the challenges of developing medical devices and how ANSYS tools can solve these problems, download our whitepaper on the topic Digital System Prototyping for Medical Devices.