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Title: Computational analysis of blood flow and stress patterns in the aorta of patients with Marfan syndrome
Author: Singh, Shelly Deokie
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2016
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Personalised external aortic root support (PEARS) was designed to prevent progressive aortic dilatation, and the associated risk of aortic dissection, in patients with Marfan syndrome by providing an additional support to the aorta. The objective of this thesis was to understand the biomechanical implications of PEARS surgery as well as to investigate the altered haemodynamics associated with the disease and its treatment. Finite element (FE) models were developed using patient-specific aortic geometries reconstructed from pre and post-PEARS magnetic resonance (MR) images of three Marfan patients. The wall and PEARS materials were assumed to be isotropic, incompressible and linearly elastic. A static load on the inner wall corresponding to the patients’ pulse pressure was applied with a zero-displacement constraint at all boundaries. Results showed that peak aortic stresses and displacements before PEARS were located at the sinuses of Valsalva but following PEARS surgery, they were shifted to the aortic arch, at the intersection between the supported and unsupported aorta. The zero-displacement constraint at the aortic root was subsequently removed and replaced with downward motion measured from in vivo images. This revealed significant increases in the longitudinal wall stress, especially in the pre-PEARS models. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models were developed to evaluate flow characteristics. The correlation-based transitional Shear Stress Transport (SST-Tran) model was adopted to simulate potential transitional and turbulence flow during part of the cardiac cycle and flow waveforms derived from phase-contrast MR images were imposed at the inlets. Qualitative patterns of the haemodynamics were similar pre- and post-PEARS with variations in mean helicity flow index (HFI) of -10%, 35% and 20% in the post-PEARS aortas of the three patients. A fluid-structure interaction (FSI) model was developed for one patient, pre- and post-PEARS in order to examine the effect of wall compliance on aortic flow as well as the effect of pulsatile flow on wall stress. This model excluded the sinuses and was based on the laminar flow assumption. The results were similar to those obtained using the rigid wall and static structural models, with minor quantitative differences. Considering the higher computational cost of FSI simulations and the relatively small differences observed in peak wall stress, it is reasonable to suggest that static structural models would be sufficient for wall stress prediction. Additionally, aortic root motion had a more profound effect on wall stress than wall compliance. Further studies are required to assess the statistical significance of the findings outlined in this thesis. Recommendations for future work were also highlighted, with emphasis on model assumptions including material properties, residual stress and boundary conditions.
Supervisor: Xu, Xiao Yun Sponsor: Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral