Computational fluid dynamics in coronary artery disease
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Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a widely used method in mechanical engineering to solve complex problems by analysing fluid flow, heat transfer, and associated phenomena by using computer simulations. In recent years, CFD has been increasingly used in biomedical research of coronary artery disease because of its high performance hardware and software. CFD techniques have been applied to study cardiovascular hemodynamics through simulation tools to predict the behaviour of circulatory blood flow in the human body. CFD simulation based on 3D luminal reconstructions can be used to analyse the local flow fields and flow profiling due to changes of coronary artery geometry, thus, identifying risk factors for development and progression of coronary artery disease. This review aims to provide an overview of the CFD applications in coronary artery disease, including biomechanics of atherosclerotic plaques, plaque progression and rupture; regional hemodynamics relative to plaque location and composition. A critical appraisal is given to a more recently developed application, fractional flow reserve based on CFD computation with regard to its diagnostic accuracy in the detection of hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease.
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