Pekkan Cardiovascular Biofluids Group, Biomedical Engineering Deparment, Carnegie Mellon University

Fluid dynamic optimization of complex congenital heart defect surgeries

aortic arch at three stages of embryonic development

The incidence of children born in the USA with single ventricle congenital heart defects in which there is only one effective pumping chamber is about 2 per 1000 births (or about 2000 in a year). Recent advances in pediatric cardiovascular surgery which is palliative and unfortunately not curative, has dramatically increased the number of adult Fontan survivors. These patients require a lifetime (rather limited) of intensive medical attention. Clinicians report that over 50% of their time must be devoted to the 20% fraction of their patients having this complex cardiovascular physiology.

The timeline on the left shows the major surgical paliations (S1R, S2R and S3R) and physiological states of a patient born with a heart defect. We recently showed that univentricle cardiac output is almost inversely proportional to Fontan pathway hydrodynamic energy dissipation (American Journal of Physiology 2009 article) and also developed nondimesional indices to compare disease severety patient-to-patient or along this timeline (JMBE and ABME articles 2009).

Dedicated to impact children with heart defects we collaborate in this critical and complex reseach field with my former group at Georgia Institute of Technology School of Biomedical Engineering (Yoganathan CFML lab) and pediatric cardiac physicians (Drs. Bradley Keller, Curt DeGroff, Ergin Kocyildirim, Victor Morrel, Masahiro Yoshida). Please visit our recent publications about the current status of this reseach field and an historical movie prepared for APS/Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion in 2003.