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Title: Pressure drop and recovery in cases of cardiovascular disease : a computational study
Author: Kousera, Chrysa Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 3005
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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The presence of disease in the cardiovascular system results in changes in flow and pressure patterns. Increased resistance to the flow observed in cases of aortic valve and coronary artery disease can have as a consequence abnormally high pressure gradients, which may lead to overexertion of the heart muscle, limited tissue perfusion and tissue damage. In the past, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods have been used coupled with medical imaging data to study haemodynamics, and it has been shown that CFD has great potential as a way to study patient-specific cases of cardiovascular disease in vivo, non-invasively, in great detail and at low cost. CFD can be particularly useful in evaluating the effectiveness of new diagnostic and treatment techniques, especially at early 'concept' stages. The main aim of this thesis is to use CFD to investigate the relationship between pressure and flow in cases of disease in the coronary arteries and the aortic valve, with the purpose of helping improve diagnosis and treatment, respectively. A transitional flow CFD model is used to investigate the phenomenon of pressure recovery in idealised models of aortic valve stenosis. Energy lost as turbulence in the wake of a diseased valve hinders pressure recovery, which occurs naturally when no energy losses are observed. A 'concept' study testing the potential of a device that could maximise pressure recovery to reduce the pressure load on the heart muscle was conducted. The results indicate that, under certain conditions, such a device could prove useful. Fully patient-specific CFD studies of the coronary arteries are fewer than studies in larger vessels, mostly due to past limitations in the imaging and velocity data quality. A new method to reconstruct coronary anatomy from optical coherence tomography (OCT) data is presented in the thesis. The resulting models were combined with invasively acquired pressure and flow velocity data in transient CFD simulations, in order to test the ability of CFD to match the invasively measured pressure drop. A positive correlation and no bias were found between the calculated and measured results. The use of lower resolution reconstruction methods resulted in no correlation between the calculated and measured results, highlighting the importance of anatomical accuracy in the effectiveness of the CFD model. However, it was considered imperative that the limitations of CFD in predicting pressure gradients be further explored. It was found that the CFD-derived pressure drop is sensitive to changes in the volumetric flow rate, while bench-top experiments showed that the estimation of volumetric flow rate from invasively measured velocity data is subject to errors and uncertainties that may have a random effect on the CFD pressure result. This study demonstrated that the relationship between geometry, pressure and flow can be used to evaluate new diagnostic and treatment methods. In the case of aortic stenosis, further experimental work is required to turn the concept of a pressure recovery device into a potential clinical tool. In the coronary study it was shown that, though CFD has great power as a study tool, its limitations, especially those pertaining to the volumetric flow rate boundary condition, must be further studied and become fully understood before CFD can be reliably used to aid diagnosis in clinical practice.
Supervisor: Francis, Darrel; Davies, Justin; Xu, Xiao Yun; Hughes, Alun Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available