Vera Moulton Wall Center


MRI heart
Magnetic resonance image of a cross section of the heart with calculated strain measurements. Methods such as these provide additional opportunities to evaluate right ventricular functions. Watch the movie
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Stanford University is home to many excellent bioengineering groups within the School of Engineering, School of Medicine, and School of Humanities and Sciences. Faculty in these departments conduct research in a variety of areas including biomechanical engineering, biodesign, medical informatics, medical imaging, biomaterials, biosensors, chemical bioengineering, and environmental biotechnology. Some of the most promising research today involves the mechanics of blood flow in the lungs. The Wall Center hopes to build on groundbreaking work that it has been conducting in collaboration with the School of Engineering on simulating pulmonary blood flow and understanding the coupling between the heart and pulmonary arteries.

Image-Based Modeling of Pulmonary Vascular Disease

Among the most innovative research programs today is the cross-disciplinary investigation of the complex blood flow characteristics in the pulmonary circulation under the leadership of Jeffrey A. Feinstein, MD, MPH, Director, Vera Moulton Wall Center, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Charles A. Taylor, PhD, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Surgery and Pediatrics (by courtesy). The Vera Moulton Wall Center and The Stanford Cardiovascular Biomechanics Research Lab have joined together to develop techniques for building anatomic models of pulmonary vasculature from imaging data as well as developing tools to study the mechanics of the circulation in these patient-specific models. In using computer modeling, a researcher constructs a model of the individual’s vascular anatomy and physiology based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. They then use simulation techniques to predict the patient’s response to alternate medical or invasive treatments, or the behavior of a device within that patient under different physiologic states (such as exercise). By using these models as a diagnostic and investigative tool, researchers can explore innovative treatment options and apply this technique, with virtually no risk to the patient, to clinical problems arising from congenital and acquired pulmonary vascular disease.

3D heart
3-dimensional computer model of the pulmonary arteries (red) superimposed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of the heart and aorta (gray) for patient with previously repaired tetralogy of Fallot. The anatomy demonstrated here, coupled with the physiology obtained by MRI can be used to perform simulations of the blood flow in the pulmonary circulation at rest and with exercise to better understand and treat complex pulmonary artery abnormalities.
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geometric model
Geometric model of proximal pulmonary arteries in a 16-year-old male subject previously repaired for tetralogy of Fallot with left pulmonary artery (LPA) stenosis. Geometric solid model is superimposed with volume rendered anatomic data obtained using MRA. Main, right and left pulmonary artery flow and pressure are shown for simulations performed with (blue curves) and without (red curves) stenosis in LPA. For both simulations, only main pulmonary artery flow rate was prescribed. All other curves are predicted. Inset figure in bottom right shows sample morphometric tree created at the outlets of each of the proximal branches of the geometric model. Note that the predicted blood flow to the left lung is considerably less than that to the right lung and removal of the stenosis in the LPA results in negligible changes in blood flow rates and pressure.

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