Phantom-based experimental validation of computational fluid dynamics simulations on cerebral aneurysms

Med Phys. 2010 Sep;37(9):5054-65. doi: 10.1118/1.3483066.


Purpose: Recently, image-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation has been applied to investigate the hemodynamics inside human cerebral aneurysms. The knowledge of the computed three-dimensional flow fields is used for clinical risk assessment and treatment decision making. However, the reliability of the application specific CFD results has not been thoroughly validated yet.

Methods: In this work, by exploiting a phantom aneurysm model, the authors therefore aim to prove the reliability of the CFD results obtained from simulations with sufficiently accurate input boundary conditions. To confirm the correlation between the CFD results and the reality, virtual angiograms are generated by the simulation pipeline and are quantitatively compared to the experimentally acquired angiograms. In addition, a parametric study has been carried out to systematically investigate the influence of the input parameters associated with the current measuring techniques on the flow patterns.

Results: Qualitative and quantitative evaluations demonstrate good agreement between the simulated and the real flow dynamics. Discrepancies of less than 15% are found for the relative root mean square errors of time intensity curve comparisons from each selected characteristic position. The investigated input parameters show different influences on the simulation results, indicating the desired accuracy in the measurements.

Conclusions: This study provides a comprehensive validation method of CFD simulation for reproducing the real flow field in the cerebral aneurysm phantom under well controlled conditions. The reliability of the CFD is well confirmed. Through the parametric study, it is possible to assess the degree of validity of the associated CFD model based on the parameter values and their estimated accuracy range.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / physiopathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • User-Computer Interface