Virtual surgeries in patients with congenital heart disease: a multi-scale modelling test case

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011 Nov 13;369(1954):4316-30. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2011.0130.


The objective of this work is to perform a virtual planning of surgical repairs in patients with congenital heart diseases--to test the predictive capability of a closed-loop multi-scale model. As a first step, we reproduced the pre-operative state of a specific patient with a univentricular circulation and a bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis (BCPA), starting from the patient's clinical data. Namely, by adopting a closed-loop multi-scale approach, the boundary conditions at the inlet and outlet sections of the three-dimensional model were automatically calculated by a lumped parameter network. Successively, we simulated three alternative surgical designs of the total cavopulmonary connection (TCPC). In particular, a T-junction of the venae cavae to the pulmonary arteries (T-TCPC), a design with an offset between the venae cavae (O-TCPC) and a Y-graft design (Y-TCPC) were compared. A multi-scale closed-loop model consisting of a lumped parameter network representing the whole circulation and a patient-specific three-dimensional finite volume model of the BCPA with detailed pulmonary anatomy was built. The three TCPC alternatives were investigated in terms of energetics and haemodynamics. Effects of exercise were also investigated. Results showed that the pre-operative caval flows should not be used as boundary conditions in post-operative simulations owing to changes in the flow waveforms post-operatively. The multi-scale approach is a possible solution to overcome this incongruence. Power losses of the Y-TCPC were lower than all other TCPC models both at rest and under exercise conditions and it distributed the inferior vena cava flow evenly to both lungs. Further work is needed to correlate results from these simulations with clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cardiology / methods*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computers
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / physiopathology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pulmonary Artery / abnormalities
  • Pulmonary Artery / surgery
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / abnormalities
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / surgery
  • Vena Cava, Superior / abnormalities
  • Vena Cava, Superior / surgery