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Effect of exercise on patient specific abdominal aortic aneurysm flow topology and mixing

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Computational fluid dynamics modeling was used to investigate changes in blood transport topology between rest and exercise conditions in five patient-specific abdominal aortic aneurysm models. MRI was used to provide the vascular anatomy and necessary boundary conditions for simulating blood velocity and pressure fields inside each model. Finite-time Lyapunov exponent fields and associated Lagrangian coherent structures were computed from blood velocity data and were used to compare features of the transport topology between rest and exercise both mechanistically and qualitatively. A mix-norm and mix-variance measure based on fresh blood distribution throughout the aneurysm over time were implemented to quantitatively compare mixing between rest and exercise. Exercise conditions resulted in higher and more uniform mixing and reduced the overall residence time in all aneurysms. Separated regions of recirculating flow were commonly observed in rest, and these regions were either reduced or removed by attached and unidirectional flow during exercise, or replaced with regional chaotic and transiently turbulent mixing, or persisted and even extended during exercise. The main factor that dictated the change in flow topology from rest to exercise was the behavior of the jet of blood penetrating into the aneurysm during systole.

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