The main objective of this work was to demonstrate computationally that realistic human hearts can be cooled much faster by performing conjugate heat transfer consisting of pumping a cold liquid through the cardiac chambers and major veins while keeping the heart submerged in cold gelatin filling a cooling container. The human heart geometry used for simulations was obtained from three-dimensional, high resolution CT-angio scans. Two fluid flow domains for the right (pulmonic) and left (systemic) heart circulations, and two solid domains for the heart tissue and gelatin solution were defined for multi-domain numerical simulation. Detailed unsteady temperature fields within the heart tissue were calculated during the conjugate cooling process. A linear thermoelasticity analysis was performed to assess the stresses applied on the heart due to the coolant fluid shear and normal forces and to examine the thermal stress caused by temperature variation inside the heart. It was demonstrated that a conjugate cooling effort with coolant temperature at +4°C is capable of reducing the average heart temperature from +37°C to +8°C in 25 minutes for cases in which the coolant was steadily pumped only through major heart inlet veins and cavities.
Keywords: conjugate heat transfer; cryopreservation; heart cooling; heart simulation; organ preservation; transplantation.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.