In this project we will perform computer simulations of two specific important problems in clinical medicine, namely stroke and syringomyelia. In both problems, it is hypothesized that abnormal anatomy causes abnormal flow and stress in exposed areas, leading to pathogenesis. This hypothesis is supported by clinicians and medical physicists. Open questions are the determination of appropriate mathematical models for the flow and how to accurately identify abnormal flow. This project proposes to perform advanced flow simulations, where the anatomy and possibly the velocity are obtained using state-of-the-art technology, to resolve these questions. A typical simulation now takes from days to months, depending on the complexity of the model. Due to the great variations in human anatomy, we will need to perform such simulations on hundreds of patients. With our expertise in developing accurate, robust, and efficient numerical algorithms, we aim at improving current algorithms significantly. If these simulation tools shall be successful in clinical practice, each simulation must be completed within just a few hours.
We will perform patient-specific studies based on the internationally recognized software packages FEniCS and VMTK. FEniCS is an innovative finite element project for multi-physics simulations and VMTK is a toolkit for 3D reconstruction of blood vessels based on medical images. The principal investigator is a core developer in FEniCS and has contributed to VMTK. VMTK and FEniCS are open software packages that can be used for both commercial and research purposes, and is therefore an ideal platform for future innovation projects.