AuthorsO. M. Khan, K. Valen-Sendstad and D. A. Steinman
TitleNarrowing the Expertise Gap for Predicting Intracranial Aneurysm Hemodynamics: Impact of Solver Numerics versus Mesh and Time-Step Resolution
AfilliationScientific Computing
Project(s)Center for Biomedical Computing (SFF)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
PublisherAmerican Society of Neuroradiology

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent high-resolution computational fluid dynamics studies have uncovered the presence of laminar flow instabilities and possible transitional or turbulent flow in some intracranial aneurysms. The purpose of this study was to elucidate requirements for computational fluid dynamics to detect these complex flows, and, in particular, to discriminate the impact of solver numerics versus mesh and time-step resolution.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We focused on 3 MCA aneurysms, exemplifying highly unstable, mildly unstable, or stable flow phenotypes, respectively. For each, the number of mesh elements was varied by 320× and the number of time-steps by 25×. Computational fluid dynamics simulations were performed by using an optimized second-order, minimally dissipative solver, and a more typical first-order, stabilized solver.

RESULTS: With the optimized solver and settings, qualitative differences in flow and wall shear stress patterns were negligible for models down to ∼800,000 tetrahedra and ∼5000 time-steps per cardiac cycle and could be solved within clinically acceptable timeframes. At the same model resolutions, however, the stabilized solver had poorer accuracy and completely suppressed flow instabilities for the 2 unstable flow cases. These findings were verified by using the popular commercial computational fluid dynamics solver, Fluent.

CONCLUSIONS: Solver numerics must be considered at least as important as mesh and time-step resolution in determining the quality of aneurysm computational fluid dynamics simulations. Proper computational fluid dynamics verification studies, and not just superficial grid refinements, are therefore required to avoid overlooking potentially clinically and biologically relevant flow features.

Citation Key23444