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Background: There are some early clinical indicators of cardiac ischemia, most notably a change in a person's electrocardiogram. Less well understood, but potentially just as dangerous, is ischemia that develops in the gastrointestinal system. Such ischemia is difficult to diagnose without angiography (an invasive and time-consuming procedure) mainly due to the highly unspecific nature of the disease. Understanding how perfusion is affected during ischemic conditions can be a useful clinical tool which can help clinicians during the diagnosis process. As a first step towards this final goal, a computational model of the gastrointestinal system has been developed and used to simulate realistic blood flow during normal conditions. Methods: An anatomically and biophysically based model of the major mesenteric arteries has been developed to be used to simulate normal blood flows. The computational mesh used for the simulations has been generated using data from the Visible Human project. The 3D Navier-Stokes equations that govern flow within this mesh have been simplified to an efficient 1D scheme. This scheme, together with a constitutive pressure-radius relationship, has been solved numerically for pressure, vessel radius and velocity for the entire mesenteric arterial network. Results: The computational model developed shows close agreement with physiologically realistic geometries other researchers have recorded in vivo. Using this model as a framework, results were analyzed for the four distinct phases of the cardiac cycle - diastole, isovolumic contraction, ejection and isovolumic relaxation. Profiles showing the temporally varying pressure and velocity for a periodic input varying between 10.2 kPa (77 mmHg) and 14.6 kPa (110 mmHg) at the abdominal aorta are presented. An analytical solution has been developed to model blood flow in tapering vessels and when compared with the numerical solution, showed excellent agreement. Conclusion: An anatomically and physiologically realistic computational model of the major mesenteric arteries has been developed for the gastrointestinal system. Using this model, blood flow has been simulated which show physiologically realistic flow profiles. © 2007 Mabotuwana et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Mabotuwana, T. D. S., Cheng, L. K., & Pullan, A. J. (2007). A model of blood flow in the mesenteric arterial system. BioMedical Engineering Online, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-925X-6-17