Cardiovascular Simulation Services

Cardiovascular diseases have a huge impact on population, particularly people with a low- and middle-income. Since the early 1950s, there have been increasing efforts to develop computational models and simulation-based techniques in order to assess physiological and pathophysiological conditions accounting for the multiple time scales and levels of spatial organization present in the cardiovascular system (CVS). Applications such as diagnosis, treatment and surgical planning have been enormously benefitted from these complementary tools. Simulating a heartbeat is a complex, multi-scale problem. This means that many scales are coupled, covering different orders of magnitude from descriptions of electrical propagation, cells arrangement into a spatial description, generally known as myofibre orientation; and up to the geometry of the cardiac chambers.

EUBrazilCC leverages the integration of heterogeneous supercomputing and virtualized infrastructures with the orchestration through the components integrated in the platform of two simulation codes from Brazil and Spain, addressing two complementary problems in cardiovascular modelling.

Our Cardiovascular simulation services will be soon accessible from this page. 

Cardiac Electromechanical Modeling

Recently, electro-mechanical cardiac simulations have become of frequent use to understand the emergent properties of complex, multi-scale systems tightly interconnected in the heart. Electromechanical simulations have proved useful for predicting the effects of cardiac resynchronization therapy, patient-specific applications and cardiac growth, for example. Computational models of electrophysiology have been used to understand arrhythmias that have been acquired with age, drug use and of genetic nature. The most current research is also able to identify the need of morphological detail on the anatomical models used as a substrate for arrhythmic episodes.

In EUBrazil Cloud Connect, the goal of this Use Case is to analyze the output sensitivity to different fiber fields and initial conditions. EUBrazil Cloud Connect uses for this purpose the Alya Red System, the BSC’s in-house simulation tool. It is fully developed in-house, from the numerical methods up to the parallel implementation, including mesh-generation and visualization. The Alya System is a Computational Mechanics code specially designed for running with high efficiency standards in largescale supercomputing facilities, capable of solving different physics in a coupled way (fluids, solids, electrical activity, species concentration, free surface, combustion, embedded bodies, etc.). The goal of the Alya System is to develop a Cardiac Computational Model at organ level, to simulate fluid-electro-mechanical coupling.

Electromechanical simulation of a heart obtained with Alya Red.

 

One-Dimensional Arterial Blood Flow Modeling

The scientific community recognizes that an integrative approach to the modelling of the cardiovascular system (CVS) would need to be able to model and accurately simulate the mutual interactions between phenomena taking place at different time and spatial scales, going from genes expression to the whole organism functioning. From pioneering works studying the basic theoretical ingredients, going through the early developments of topological descriptions of the CVS, subsequent improvements and alternatives, and finally reaching incontestable in-vitro validations and in-vivo verifications, one-dimensional models have had a prolific existence, and are currently established as a more interesting tool to gain insights into the most diverse aspects of the systemic circulation.

The Anatomically-Detailed Arterial Network (ADAN) model, developed at LNCC, starts from anatomical data and physiological concepts in order to perform cutting-edge cardiovascular research supported by modelling of physical phenomena and simulation-based techniques. The ADAN model incorporates, in the definition of the vascular topology, most of the arteries which are acknowledged in the medical and anatomical literature for an average male. This requires taking over 1585 arteries into account.

Wressure wave in human arteries obtained with ADAN.



Creating the most complex cardiovascular model

In this regard, EUBrazil Cloud Connect will couple the Alya Red heart model with the ADAN model in order to deliver an unprecedented model of the blood flow circulation in the cardiovascular system, making possible to widen the range of cardiovascular scenarios that the model is able to address. In this sense, it is possible to study the effect of wave propagation back into the heart to analyze, for instance, the impact of aortic regurgitation on hypertrophy in the cardiac muscle, or the consequences of arterial stiffening into the heart efficiency. Likewise, changing parameters in the heart functioning allows us to understand how this affects the pressure pulse conformation in detail. In any case, the coupled model naturally integrates phenomena taking place at such vascular entities (heart, systemic arteries). This use case will also demonstrate the coupling of heterogeneous infrastructures by the integration of two different blood flow simulators.

 

Data Sources

Use Case 2 on Cardiovascular Simulation will feed ADAN and Alya Red simulators, within the EUBrazil Cloud Connect integrated cloud environment, with clinical data coming from hospitals and biomedical research centres in Brazil and Europe. Data will be of varied types: specific patient health condition parameters, images, geometries, etc... and will be used to both establish the setup and calibrate the outcome of the simulations. Global physiological patient-specific parameters such as mean, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, cardiac output and heart rate, among others, will be the input for simulation with ADAN. On the other hand, another part of input data goes straight to Alya Red, such as: geometries or meshes coming from image segmentation, anatomical description of the fiber fields, physiological parameters of the models, etc.

The final results of the simulations are kept into the cloud database to be retrieved by the hospital and laboratories as new data to be provided to the end-users, i.e. medical doctors.

What makes a breakthrough is EUBrazil Cloud Connect effort to put together these simulation tools under a cloud computing umbrella, including software coupling and access to both input and output data.

Potential Users

The potential users of the integrated environment for blood flow and heart simulation are cardiologists and researchers who are dedicated to better understanding cardiovascular diseases. Although this is a very large community, the tools developed in the UC2 will be used by a small group of about 10 researchers working at BSC and LNCC before they can be used for cardiovascular research.

 

What we offer them

An integrated environment for blood flow and heart simulation. This environment will leverage on the existing user interfaces of Alya Red System and ADAN to create and submit experiments for execution in High-performance computing (HPC) systems and cloud environments.

What we expect from them

We expect the future uptake and integration of EUBrazil Cloud Connect simulation environment  within the Hemodynamic Modelling Laboratory (HeMoLab) , which is an online tool for the simulation of the human cardiovascular system developed by LNCC, and the Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (CASE), which is a BigData visualization tool developed by BSC. This will ensure the re-use of EUBrazil Cloud Connect research.

We hope that doctors will use, in a relatively near future, the results of this tool in the same model that they use images and radiology: someone run some simulation under some specific conditions and these results are then transferred to the doctor. A little bit like what happens for x-rays: doctors do not take by themselves the x-ray, someone take them and give the doctor the result of the takes. In parallel, we expect medical researchers, depending on their expertise, to use these tools by themselves.

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