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Reproducing Patient-Specific Hemodynamics in the Blalock–Taussig Circulation Using a Flexible Multi-Domain Simulation Framework: Applications for Optimal Shunt Design

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Christopher John Arthurs, Ronald Grifka, Pradyumn Agarwal, Anna John, Adam Dorfman, Carlos Alberto Figueroa Alvarez

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Early online date26 Apr 2017
Accepted/In press31 Mar 2017
E-pub ahead of print26 Apr 2017
Published26 Apr 2017


King's Authors


For babies born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, several open-heart surgeries are required. During Stage I, a Norwood procedure is performed to construct an appropriate circulation to both the systemic and the pulmonary arteries. The pulmonary arteries receive flow from the systemic circulation, often using a Blalock–Taussig (BT) shunt between the innominate artery and the right pulmonary artery. This procedure causes significantly disturbed flow in the pulmonary arteries. In this study, we use computational hemodynamic simulations to demonstrate its capacity for examining the properties of the flow through and near the BT shunt. Initially, we construct a computational model which produces blood flow and pressure measurements matching the clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and catheterization data. Achieving this required us to determine the level of BT shunt occlusion; because the occlusion is below the MRI resolution, this information is difficult to recover without the aid of computational simulations. We determined that the shunt had undergone an effective diameter reduction of 22% since the time of surgery. Using the resulting geometric model, we show that we can computationally reproduce the clinical data. We, then, replace the BT shunt with a hypothetical alternative shunt design with a flare at the distal end. Investigation of the impact of the shunt design reveals that the flare can increase pulmonary pressure by as much as 7% and flow by as much as 9% in the main pulmonary branches, which may be beneficial to the pulmonary circulation.

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