Biomedical Innovation: Patient Specific 3D Blood Flow Model

For a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, spending time crunching numbers is leading to technologies that could save lives.

Thomas Hughes is developing three dimensional models of blood flow of individual patients.Thomas Hughes is developing three dimensional models of blood flow of individual patients.

Dr. Thomas Hughesand his colleagues have pioneered patient-specific 3-D models of blood flow through the heart and blood vessels that could help guide best practices for cardiologists.

Rather than relying on earlier computer models — where simple two-dimensional geometry shared little resemblance to actual anatomy — medical doctors can now use the work of Hughes to better understand how various medical interventions in the heart and vessels affect blood flow. As a result, crucial information can be provided about the safety and effectiveness of commonly used devices like stents, angioplasties and bypass grafts.

“What we introduced in the mid-1990s was a new paradigm of modeling using different computer science technologies,” Hughes said. These technologies included familiar diagnostic tests like ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs, but the revolutionary part of Hughes’ research was to extract the data gathered from medical imaging in the form of a DICOM file.

Read more at the Cockrell School of Engineering Web site.

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