Key outcomes

  • Identified high risk regions
  • Unsteady flow physics visualised

 

Figure 1: Velocity of pulsing blood flow through an artery section.

In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields there is a growing demand for accurate modelling of phenomena within the human body. Small scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are particularly useful for the development of pharmaceutical instruments and for the diagnosis of diseases. Synergetics performed a case study to demonstrate the insight that these types of simulations can provide.

In this study, pulsing blood flow through a small artery section was modelled. The simulations clearly show how the flow velocity, pressure distribution and shear stress vary across the pulse cycle. The velocity field animation shows how the vessel wall geometry affects the propagation of blood through the artery. This modelling can also be extended to test the effects of obstacles, such as thrombi (commonly referred to as blood clots) or plaque build-up, on flow through the artery. Since thrombosis is accelerated by high shear stress, the shear stress distribution also reveals the regions where thrombi are likely to form. Additionally, the pressure distribution can be used to investigate critical points for the vessel walls, where damage is most likely to occur. A similar model can also be used to study the effects of changes in fluid properties of the blood, damaged or diseased walls, implants and other medical devices.

Wall shear stress on the surface of forked artery section

Figure 2: CFD was used to compute wall shear stress at the vessel surface, indicating regions at increased risk of thrombosis.