Computational modeling of blood component transport related to coronary artery thrombosis in Kawasaki disease

PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Sep 7;17(9):e1009331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009331. eCollection 2021 Sep.


Coronary artery thrombosis is the major risk associated with Kawasaki disease (KD). Long-term management of KD patients with persistent aneurysms requires a thrombotic risk assessment and clinical decisions regarding the administration of anticoagulation therapy. Computational fluid dynamics has demonstrated that abnormal KD coronary artery hemodynamics can be associated with thrombosis. However, the underlying mechanisms of clot formation are not yet fully understood. Here we present a new model incorporating data from patient-specific simulated velocity fields to track platelet activation and accumulation. We use a system of Reaction-Advection-Diffusion equations solved with a stabilized finite element method to describe the evolution of non-activated platelets and activated platelet concentrations [AP], local concentrations of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and poly-phosphate (PolyP). The activation of platelets is modeled as a function of shear-rate exposure and local concentration of agonists. We compared the distribution of activated platelets in a healthy coronary case and six cases with coronary artery aneurysms caused by KD, including three with confirmed thrombosis. Results show spatial correlation between regions of higher concentration of activated platelets and the reported location of the clot, suggesting predictive capabilities of this model towards identifying regions at high risk for thrombosis. Also, the concentration levels of ADP and PolyP in cases with confirmed thrombosis are higher than the reported critical values associated with platelet aggregation (ADP) and activation of the intrinsic coagulation pathway (PolyP). These findings suggest the potential initiation of a coagulation pathway even in the absence of an extrinsic factor. Finally, computational simulations show that in regions of flow stagnation, biochemical activation, as a result of local agonist concentration, is dominant. Identifying the leading factors to a pro-coagulant environment in each case-mechanical or biochemical-could help define improved strategies for thrombosis prevention tailored for each patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / chemistry
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Platelets / pathology*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / blood
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / complications*
  • Platelet Activation
  • Platelet Aggregation
  • Thrombosis / blood
  • Thrombosis / complications*
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy


  • Anticoagulants
  • Adenosine Diphosphate