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New Blood Flow Simulation System to Diagnose Brain Aneurysms

By Mason Spirit contributor on October 1, 2008

Researchers at Mason’s Center for Computational Fluid Dynamics unveiled a first-of-its-kind patient-specific blood flow simulation system that uses software components developed at Mason. The cutting-edge technology has the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain aneurysms—saclike bulges in the blood vessels—which affect millions of Americans each year.

A multidisciplinary team comprising Mason computational scientists, Inova Fairfax Hospital neuroradiologists, and Philips Medical System engineers collaborated on the system, in which an X-ray scanner takes pictures of the patient’s brain arteries during an intra-arterial injection of an opaque dye. The images are then transferred to a workstation that creates a three-dimensional image of the blood vessels.

“Using these images, physicians can construct patient-specific computational models of the blood flow in the aneurysms and visualize the pressure differences, blood speed, and wall shear stress (frictional forces on the aneurysm wall that are believed to influence the biology and structure of the arterial wall),” says Juan R. Cebral, associate professor in Mason’s Department of Computational and Data Sciences and principal investigator of the project. The system can also be used to predict blood flow alterations produced by various interventions, such as bypass surgery and the deployment of stents or coils in the blood vessels.

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