A Patient-Specific CFD Pipeline Using Doppler Echocardiography for Application in Coarctation of the Aorta in a Limited Resource Clinical Context

Liam Swanson, Benjamin Owen, Amir Keshmiri, Amin Deyranlou, Thomas Aldersley, John Lawrenson, Paul Human, Rik De Decker, Barend Fourie, George Comitis, Mark E. Engel, Bernard Keavney, Liesl Zühlke, Malebogo Ngoepe, Alistair Revell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect globally and coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is one of the commoner CHD conditions, affecting around 1/1800 live births. CoA is considered a CHD of critical severity. Unfortunately, the prognosis for a child born in a low and lower-middle income country (LLMICs) with CoA is far worse than in a high-income country. Reduced diagnostic and interventional capacities of specialists in these regions lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, which in turn lead to more cases presenting at an advanced stage. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is an important tool in this context since it can provide additional diagnostic data in the form of hemodynamic parameters. It also provides an in silico framework, both to test potential procedures and to assess the risk of further complications arising post-repair. Although this concept is already in practice in high income countries, the clinical infrastructure in LLMICs can be sparse, and access to advanced imaging modalities such as phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging (PC-MRI) is limited, if not impossible. In this study, a pipeline was developed in conjunction with clinicians at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town and was applied to perform a patient-specific CFD study of CoA. The pipeline uses data acquired from CT angiography and Doppler transthoracic echocardiography (both much more clinically available than MRI in LLMICs), while segmentation is conducted via SimVascular and simulation is realized using OpenFOAM. The reduction in cost through use of open-source software and the use of broadly available imaging modalities makes the methodology clinically feasible and repeatable within resource-constrained environments. The project identifies the key role of Doppler echocardiography, despite its disadvantages, as an intrinsic component of the pipeline if it is to be used routinely in LLMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number409
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2020


  • coarctation of the aorta
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • congenital heart disease
  • Doppler echocardiography
  • patient-specific


Dive into the research topics of 'A Patient-Specific CFD Pipeline Using Doppler Echocardiography for Application in Coarctation of the Aorta in a Limited Resource Clinical Context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this