Patient-specific closed-loop model of the fontan circulation: Calibration and validation

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The Fontan circulation, designed for managing patients with a single functional ventricle, presents challenges in long-term outcomes. Computational methods offer potential solutions, yet their application in cardiology practice remains largely unexplored. Our aim was to assess the ability of a patient-specific, closed-loop, reduced-order blood flow model to simulate pulsatile blood flow in the Fontan circulation. Using one-dimensional models, we simulated the aorta, superior and inferior venae cavae, and right and left pulmonary arteries, while lumping heart chambers and remaining vessels into zero-dimensional models. The model was calibrated with patient-specific haemodynamic data from combined cardiac catheterisation and magnetic resonance exams, using a novel physics-based stepwise methodology involving simpler open-loop models. Testing on a 10-year-old, anesthetised patient, demonstrated the model's capability to replicate pulsatile pressure and flow in the larger vessels and ventricular pressure. Average relative errors in mean pressure and flow were 2.9 % and 3.6 %, with average relative point-to-point errors (RPPE) in pressure and flow at 5.2 % and 16.0 %. Comparing simulation results to measurements, mean aortic pressure and flow values were 50.7 vs. 50.4 mmHg and 41.6 vs. 41.9 ml/s, respectively, while ventricular pressure values were 28.7 vs. 27.4 mmHg. The model accurately described time-varying ventricular volume with a RPPE of 2.9 %, with mean, minimum, and maximum ventricular volume values for simulation results vs. measurements at 59.2 vs. 58.2 ml, 38.0 vs. 37.6 ml, and 76.0 vs. 74.4 ml, respectively. It provided physiologically realistic predictions of haemodynamic changes from pulmonary vasodilation and atrial fenestration opening. The new model and calibration methodology are freely available, offering a platform to virtually investigate the Fontan circulation's response to clinical interventions and explore potential mechanisms of Fontan failure. Future efforts will concentrate on broadening the model's applicability to a wider range of patient populations and clinical scenarios, as well as testing its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30404
Issue number9
Early online date26 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024


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