Experimental validation of CFD simulations of a patient-specific pulmonary vascular model using particle image velocimetry
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a devastating disease characterized by a higher than normal pressure in the main pulmonary artery, which is caused by an increase in vascular resistance at the distal vasculature. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be utilized to identify flow-derived metrics representative of the stage of PH disease and, therefore, provide insight on means of preventative or corrective intervention. Nevertheless, experimental validation of CFD models are often not conducted due to the geometric complexity of the model or shortcomings in the reproduction of the required flow conditions. This may explain the absence of validated computational pulmonary hemodynamics in the literature. The goal of this research is to validate experimentally a CFD simulation with an in vitro pulmonary artery model using a stereo particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique. PIV allows for measuring fluid velocity vector distributions in vascular phantoms, which can then be compared to the velocity field calculated in a CFD model. To accomplish this goal, rapid prototyping is implemented to construct a physical pulmonary geometry and develop the phantom needed for the stereo-PIV experiments. The completion of this work provides invaluable information on the accuracy of CFD predictions for the future assessment of the severity of PH.