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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C526309/1
Title: Computational Biomechanics for the Study of Aortic Dissections: A Coupled Haemodynamics-Arterial Tissue Approach
Principal Investigator: Ventikos, Professor Y
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
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Department: Engineering Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: First Grant Scheme Pre-FEC
Starts: 03 October 2005 Ends: 02 October 2008 Value (£): 121,045
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
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Summary on Grant Application Form
Circulation is perceived as the most important system of the human body since it brings oxygen to trillions of cells. Heart, arteries and veins often suffer from diseases that are wide-spread and critical: Coronary disease, aortic aneurysms, heart valve problems and dissections are all conditions that threaten this crucial system. A dissection is a partial tearing of the aorta: a layer of the arterial wall tissue detaches itself and creates a side-pocket, a tube-within-the-tube. This new passage might be open at the lower end or it might be closed, creating a pouch-like structure. Dissections are usually found at the first sections of the aorta where the pressure and flow of the heart are the most potent.Little has been done in studying dissections from a basic biomechanical point of view. This stems from the complexity of the environment that dissections appear in. Up until recently, engineering had no means to tackle this problem successfully; the tools and knowledge were not available. This has changed drastically over the last five-ten years though: progress in a number of fields allows us to propose a comprehensive approach for the biomechanical study of dissections:Methods in computational simulation can now handle the intriguing problem of interaction of blood flow with tissue, even in geometries that are as challenging as this tube-with-collapsible-flap configuration. Then, progress in medical imaging (Computer Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, etc.) allows us to extend our analysis on realistic, anatomically accurate arteries, instead of idealizations. Methods are now available that transform such imaging data to accurate and detailed three-dimensional geometric information and therefore allow us to investigate cases that are patient-specific.In this project we shall develop a computer model that accounts for most of the complexities and intricacies of aortic dissections. It will include enough sophistication and detail to capture the effect that the intense local blood flow conditions have on the progress of this disease. Quantities like pressure and wall shear stress will be the principle outputs of this model. Their distribution will reveal critical regions and will help us understand the reasons that certain dissections grow and rupture, whereas others do not.There are many end-recipients for the knowledge that this research will produce: this being a basic research effort, we expect to generate serious interest within the biomechanical engineering community and to further progress into this very important field. Then, we envision that the generated knowledge will be valuable to the industry that designs and manufactures medical devises for the treatment of dissections. Above all however, we foresee a transfer of the generated information to the medical arena and the facilitation of a better understanding of the condition under investigation by physicians, something that can have significant impact on the quality of life for patients.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk