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Supercomputer Simulates Whole-Body Blood Flow

By BBC News

March 24, 2016

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A new supercomputer simulation of the circulation of blood throughout the entire human body correlates very closely with real-world flow measurements, according to Duke University researchers.

The "Harvey" software employs a three-dimensional (3D) model of every artery that is 1-mm across or wider, compiled from full-body computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans of a single individual. The modeling itself runs on a supercomputer at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"If we have [a full-body scan], then we can extract the arterial network," says Duke researcher Amanda Randles. "We get a surface mesh representing the vessel geometry, then we decide what's a fluid node and what's a wall node, and then model fluid flow through there."

A goal of the project is to evaluate how different interventions in cardiovascular disease might impact the system to a broader degree. "We'll be able to change the mesh file, representing the vasculature, to represent different treatment options," Randles reports.

To verify Harvey's real-world blood-flow accuracy, the researchers 3D-printed a plastic version of the scanned aorta, and pumped fluid through it while tracking its flow.

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