A Study of Blood Flow in Normal and Diseased Aorta

Debanjan Deep, Purdue University


Atherosclerotic lesions of human beings are common diagnosed in regions of arterial branching and curvature. The prevalence of atherosclerosis is usually associated with hardening and ballooning of aortic wall surfaces because of narrowing of flow path by the deposition of fatty materials, platelets and influx of plasma through intimal wall of Aorta. High Wall Shear Stress (WSS) is proved to be the main cause behind all these aortic diseases by physicians and researchers. Due to the fact that the atherosclerotic regions are associated with complex blood flow patterns, it has believed that hemodynamics and fluid-structure interaction play important roles in regulating atherogenesis. As one of the most complex flow situations found in cardiovascular system due to the strong curvature effects, irregular geometry, tapering and branching, and twisting, theoretical prediction and in vivo quantitative experimental data regarding to the complex blood flow dynamics are substantial paucity. In recent years, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has emerged as a popular research tool to study the characteristics of aortic flow and aim to enhance the understanding of the underlying physics behind arteriosclerosis. In this research, we study the hemodynamics and flow-vessel interaction in patient specific normal (healthy) and dilated (diseased) aortas using Ansys-Fluent and Ansys-Workbench. The computation consists of three parts: segmentation of arterial geometry for the CFD simulation from computed tomography (CT) scanning data using MIMICS; finite volume simulation of hemodynamics of steady and pulsatile flow using Ansys-Fluent; an attempt to perform the Fluid Structure Simulation of the normal aorta using Ansys-Workbench. Instead of neglecting the branching or smoothing out the wall for simplification as a lot of similar computation in literature, we use the exact aortic geometry. Segmentation from real time CT images from two patients, one young and another old to represent healthy and diseased aorta respectively, is on MIMICS. The MIMICS segmentation operation includes: first cropping the required part of aorta from CT dicom data of the whole chest, masking of the aorta from coronal, axial and saggital views of the same to extract the exact 3D geometry of the aorta. Next step was to perform surface improvement using MIMICS 3-matic module to repair for holes, noise shells and overlapping triangles to create a good quality surface of the geometry. A hexahedral volume mesh was created in T-Grid. Since T-grid cannot recognize the geometry format created by MIMICS 3-matic; the required step geometry file was created in Pro-Engineer. After the meshing operation is performed, the mesh is exported to Ansys Fluent to perform the required fluid simulation imposing adequate boundary conditions accordingly. Two types of study are performed for hemodynamics. First is a steady flow driven by specified parabolic velocity at inlet. We captured the flow feature such as skewness of velocity around the aortic arch regions and vortices pairs, which are in good agreement with open data in literature. Second is a pulsatile flow. Two pulsatile velocity profiles are imposed at the inlet of healthy and diseased aorta respectively. The pulsatile analysis was accomplished for peak systolic, mid systolic and diastolic phase of the entire cardiac cycle. During peak systole and mid-systole, high WSS was found at the aortic branch roots and arch regions and diastole resulted in flow reversals and low WSS values due to small aortic inflow. In brief, areas of sudden geometry change, i.e. the branch roots and irregular surfaces of the geometry experience more WSS. Also it was found that dilated aorta has more sporadic nature of WSS in different regions than normal aorta which displays a more uniform WSS distribution all over the aorta surface. Fluid-Structure Interaction simulation is performed on Ansys-WorkBench through the coupling of fluid dynamics and solid mechanics. Focus is on the maximum displacement and equivalent stress to find out the future failure regions for the peak velocity of the cardiac cycle.




Yu, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

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