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Computational Modeling of the Liver Arterial Blood Flow for Microsphere Therapy: Effect of Boundary Conditions.


Transarterial embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for advanced liver cancer using microspheres loaded with a chemotherapeutic drug or radioactive yttrium-90 (90Y) that are injected into the hepatic arterial tree through a catheter. For personalized treatment, the microsphere distribution in the liver should be optimized through the injection volume and location. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of the blood flow in the hepatic artery can help estimate this distribution if carefully parameterized. An important aspect is the choice of the boundary conditions imposed at the inlet and outlets of the computational domain. In this study, the effect of boundary conditions on the hepatic arterial tree hemodynamics was investigated. The outlet boundary conditions were modeled with three-element Windkessel circuits, representative of the downstream vasculature resistance. Results demonstrated that the downstream vasculature resistance affected the hepatic artery hemodynamics such as the velocity field, the pressure field and the blood flow streamline trajectories. Moreover, the number of microspheres received by the tumor significantly changed (more than 10% of the total injected microspheres) with downstream resistance variations. These findings suggest that patient-specific boundary conditions should be used in order to achieve a more accurate drug distribution estimation with CFD in transarterial embolization treatment planning.

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