Section: Application Domains

Blood flows

Cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis or aneurysms are a major cause of mortality. It is generally admitted that a better knowledge of local flow patterns could improve the treatment of these pathologies (although many other biophysical phenomena obviously take place in the development of such diseases). In particular, it has been known for years that the association of low wall shear stress and high oscillatory shear index give relevant indications to localize possible zones of atherosclerosis. It is also known that medical devices (graft or stent) perturb blood flows and may create local stresses favorable with atherogenesis. Numerical simulations of blood flows can give access to this local quantities and may therefore help to design new medical devices with less negative impacts. In the case of aneurysms, numerical simulations may help to predict possible zones of rupture and could therefore give a guide for treatment planning.

In clinical routine, many indices are used for diagnosis. For example, the size of a stenosis is estimated by a few measures of flow rate around the stenosis and by application of simple fluid mechanics rules. In some situations, for example in the case a sub-valvular stenosis, it is known that such indices often give false estimations. Numerical simulations may give indications to define new indices, simple enough to be used in clinical exams, but more precise than those currently used.

It is well-known that the arterial circulation and the heart (or more specifically the left ventricle) are strongly coupled. Modifications of arterial walls or blood flows may indeed affect the mechanical properties of the left ventricle. Numerical simulations of the arterial tree coupled to the heart model could shed light on this complex relationship.

One of the goals of the REO team is to provide various models and simulation tools of the cardiovascular system. The scaling of these models will be adapted to the application in mind: low resolution for modeling the global circulation, high resolution for modeling a small portion of vessel.