In clinical routine, the standard way of characterizing blood flow behaviour in the left atria and left atrial appendage (LA/LAA) is based on measuring the peak velocity at end diastole in the interface between both structures (so-called ostium). Values of this parameter below a given threshold (0.4 m/s) have been associated with a higher risk of stroke and cerebrovascular events. Nevertheless, characterizing the 4D nature of blood flow with a parameter in
only one point in space and time is an unrealistic simplification of the phenomenon. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be used to generate haemodynamics simulations to study the true nature of blood flow in the LA/LAA. Until recently, CFD studies in the LA/LAA have been limited to synthetic cases or a very few numbers of patient-specific geometries. We have developed over the last years a modelling pipeline to create personalized haemodynamics simulations in LA/LAA morphologies obtained from medical images. The main goal of this project will be to apply the developed modelling pipeline to a large database of cases and different device settings where clinical observations are available to validate the realism of the simulations; Doppler ultrasound curves and 4D-flow magnetic resonance images (MRI) are available from our clinical partners (Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Vall d'Hebron, Aalst Hospital in Belgium). The application of Fluid-Structure Interaction will also be explored in conjunction with researchers at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. Relevant clinical studies such as the role of pulmonary veins in blood flow patterns will be performed. Unique data from experimental models (e.g. cats and dogs) would also be analysed.
Supervisors: Oscar Camara, Jordi Mill