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Patient-Specific Vascular Model Construction and Modification for Blood Flow Simulation and Analysis


Cardiovascular disease has remained the leading cause of death worldwide for the past 15 years, and organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institute for Health (NIH) spend hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars annually to investigate heart disease and stroke. Local characteristics of blood flow in the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system provide important information in both understanding progression of and diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, current medical imaging techniques cannot provide data with high enough temporal and spatial resolution to extract meaning- ful and accurate research conclusions. Thus, many researchers investigate cardiovascular diseases using a patient-specific blood flow simulation framework. In this framework, a pa- tient’s geometry is constructed on a computer from medical image data, and a numerical simulation, such as finite element analysis (FEA), is used to provide very high detail infor- mation. Typically, the most time consuming step and also one of the most crucial steps in this pipeline is constructing the geometry of interest from the image data. In addition, many of the tools to create an image-based model are commercial, not readily available, or dispersed amongst a variety of software packages. This dissertation discusses two main avenues of research: (1) the development of unique, customized, and open-source tools for vascular model construction and meshing for FEA and (2) the investigation into and the creation of novel model construction methods for an alternative of FEA called isogeometric analysis (IGA). All of the tools developed were implemented using open-source tools such as the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) and have been implemented into the software framework SimVascular. In addition, many of the methods developed were tested for applicability and robustness on the open-source vascular model repository, which is a large database of over 100 vascular models provided by the Open Source Medical Software Corporation (OSMSC).

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