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Virtual human bodies guide vascular therapy

NSF Award:

CAREER: Parallel Dynamic Meshing Techniques for Simulation-Assisted Medical Interventions  (Pennsylvania State Univ University Park)

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In the future, treatment of blood clots will likely be tailored to individual patients. If an implantable device such as a stent is an option, caregivers could rely on computer simulations to predict how well the device traps blood clots in specific patients. The goal is to prevent clots from traveling into the lungs and causing a blockage of one of the arteries (pulmonary embolism).

To create this kind of a virtual testing ground, researchers at Mississippi State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Utah have developed dynamic, patient-specific geometric models and meshes of human veins containing virtual medical devices.  Dynamic models and meshes allow researchers to incorporate relevant motions and shape changes that may occur in the human body.  For example, as a patient breathes, the veins change shape. The medical device bends as it is positioned in the vein, and blood clots move as they travel throughout the veins. Computer simulations involving such geometric models and meshes can help determine the most effective device for the patient and can yield guidance about the patient's treatment.

Other science and engineering applications involving motion and shape changes may also benefit from these dynamic geometric models and meshes. For example, they can be used to study the flow of air around a flapping airplane wing or to design an automobile.

Image

  • a patient-specific geometric model and mesh of human veins with implanted medical device
A patient-specific model showing human veins (light pink) and virtual medical device (blue).
Mississippi State University, Penn State University and the University of Utah

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