A combined MR and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study is made of flow in the upper descending thoracic aorta. The aim was to investigate further the potential of CFD simulations linked to in vivo MRI scans. The three-dimensional (3D) geometrical images of the aorta and the 3D time-resolved velocity images at the entry to the domain studied were used as boundary conditions for the CFD simulations of the flow. Despite some measurement uncertainties, comparisons between simulated and measured flow structures at the exit from the domain demonstrated encouraging levels of agreement. Moreover, the CFD simulation allowed the flow structure throughout the domain to be examined in more detail, in particular the flow separation region in the distal aortic arch and its influence on the downstream flow during late systole. Additional information such as relative pressure and wall shear stress, which could not be measured via MRI, were also extracted from the simulation. The results have encouraged further applications of the methods described. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2001;13:699-713.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.