Uncertainty quantification of simulated biomechanical stimuli in coronary artery bypass grafts

Comput Methods Appl Mech Eng. 2019 Mar 1;345:402-428. doi: 10.1016/j.cma.2018.10.024. Epub 2018 Nov 15.


Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) is performed on more than 400,000 patients annually in the U.S. However, saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) implanted during CABG exhibit poor patency compared to arterial grafts, with failure rates up to 40% within 10 years after surgery. Differences in mechanical stimuli are known to play a role in driving maladaptation and have been correlated with endothelial damage and thrombus formation. As these quantities are difficult to measure in vivo, multi-scale coronary models offer a way to quantify them, while accounting for complex coronary physiology. However, prior studies have primarily focused on deterministic evaluations, without reporting variability in the model parameters due to uncertainty. This study aims to assess confidence in multi-scale predictions of wall shear stress and wall strain while accounting for uncertainty in peripheral hemodynamics and material properties. Boundary condition distributions are computed by assimilating uncertain clinical data, while spatial variations of vessel wall stiffness are obtained through approximation by a random field. We developed a stochastic submodeling approach to mitigate the computational burden of repeated multi-scale model evaluations to focus exclusively on the bypass grafts. This produces a two-level decomposition of quantities of interest into submodel contributions and full model/submodel discrepancies. We leverage these two levels in the context of forward uncertainty propagation using a previously proposed multi-resolution approach. The time- and space-averaged wall shear stress is well estimated with a coefficient of variation of <35%, but ignorance about the spatial distribution on the wall elastic modulus and thickness lead to large variations in an objective measure of wall strain, with coefficients of variation up to 100%. Sensitivity analysis reveals how the interactions between the flow and material parameters contribute to output variability.

Keywords: Uncertainty quantification; cardiovascular modeling; coronary bypass graft; random field; sensitivity analysis; submodelling.