During the last decades the arrival of High Performance Computing (HPC) systems to the general public made a significant decrease in the time needed for numerical simulations. Physical models such as equations dealing with fluid dynamics are an example of a recently growing field due to this novel calculation capacity. Therefore, computational fluid dynamics, or simply CFD, has been helping researchers from industry to academia to obtain information from hydrodynamic behavior of complex structures that could not be theoretically solved.
Human circulation has not been an exception to this trend. It has been known for more than 50 years that certain circulation patterns develop arterial diseases such as atherosclerosis, aneurysm and plaque deposition. Researchers immediately came up with the idea of making CFD simulations of important vascular structures, such as the aorta, in order to diagnose and prevent pathological states.
In our lab, we focus on simulating the blood flow in the ascending aorta, particularly in patients with aneurysms and dissection. With our cutting edge computational facility, we are able to make many parallel simulations and quickly give cardiovascular surgeons a precise haemodynamic scenario, tailored to every single patient. Most commonly, fields like velocity, pressure, wall shear stress and oscillatory shear index are calculated due to their well known correlation with disease.
Furthermore, before patients undergo surgery, we create different virtual scenarios and simulate their haemodynamic patterns to predict which would be the optimal geometry during surgery. Finally, post surgical geometry is also simulated in order to assess possible future complications due to vascular remodelation.