Surgical planning at Mott Children’s Hospital uses computer-generated blood flow model
For the first time, the University of Michigan Health System has used computer-generated blood flow simulation for virtual surgical planning of a cardiovascular procedure.
The new way of computing refines complex, physics-based computer models with big data techniques and has netted a group of U-M researchers including C. Alberto Figueroa, Ph.D., associate professor in vascular surgery and biomedical engineering, with more than $3 million in federal and university support.
Using advanced image-based computational fluid dynamics tools, Figueroa’s lab can simulate blood flow in vascular models built from patient-specific medical image data.
“We live in a physical world, but anatomy is only part of the story,” says Figueroa who has appointments in the Department of Surgery and Engineering. “That’s when image-based data and computations can create a broader indication of health and support scientific discovery.”
In addition to surgical planning, computer simulation techniques have further indications including tracking disease progression and medical device design.
The National Science Foundation, with university support, is funding supercomputer simulations at the U-M that may lead to advances in aerodynamics, climate science, cosmology, materials science and cardiovascular research.
Noninvasive imaging such as MRI and CT scans could enable doctors to deduce the stiffness of a patient’s arteries, a strong predictor of diseases such as hypertension. By combining the scan results with a physical model of blood flow, doctors could have an estimate for arterial stiffness within an hour of the scan.
Figueroa, who is also the Edward B. Diethrich M.D. Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Vascular Surgery, will lead the study for the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).