MRI-Based CFD analysis of flow in a human left ventricle: Methodology and application to a healthy heart

Torsten Schenkel*, Mauro Malve, Michael Reik, Michael Markl, Bernd Jung, Herbert Oertel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method has been developed to simulate the flow in a pumping left ventricle. The proposed method uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to provide a patient specific, time dependent geometry of the ventricle to be simulated. Standard clinical imaging procedures were used in this study. A two-dimensional time-dependent orifice representation of the heart valves was used. The location and size of the valves is estimated based on additional long axis images through the valves. A semi-automatic grid generator was created to generate the calculation grid. Since the time resolution of the MR scans does not fit the requirements of the CFD calculations a third order bezier approximation scheme was developed to realize a smooth wall boundary and grid movement. The calculation was performed by a Navier-Stokes solver using the arbitrary Lagrange-Euler (ALE) formulation. Results show that during diastole, blood flow through the mitral valve forms an asymmetric jet, leading to an asymmetric development of the initial vortex ring. These flow features are in reasonable agreement with in vivo measurements but also show an extremely high sensitivity to the boundary conditions imposed at the inflow. Changes in the atrial representation severely alter the resulting flow field. These shortcomings will have to be addressed in further studies, possibly by inclusion of the real atrial geometry, and imply additional requirements for the clinical imaging processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Blood flow simulation
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • In vivo
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Modeling
  • MRI
  • MRI flux
  • Patient specific
  • Ventricle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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