Aerospace Software Simulates Blood Flow in Dialysis

FREMONT, CA: Medicine has a new found friend and it is rocket science in its literal form. Software designed for the aerospace industry can now facilitate improvements in dialysis technology. 

Patients with kidney failure depend on Dialysis –a treatment for chronic kidney disease and acute disturbance in kidney function. A dialysis machine removes waste and excess water from the blood.

A team of bioengineers, aeronautic engineers, circulatory specialist, and cardiovascular surgeons are using aerospace fluid-dynamic software to simulate blood flow for different arteriovenous-fistula (AVF) configurations, reports Leah Scully for Machine Design.

An AVF is an abnormal connection or passageway between an artery and a vein, which is surgically created before dialysis to allow blood flow into the vein directly from the artery without passing through capillaries. Complications can occur during an AVF surgery as the trajectory of blood flow is altered and shear stress could lead to blood clot.

Such situations can be avoided with the use of computational simulation software which makes it possible to predict inherently unnatural patterns of blood flow in different AVF configurations which is unique for each patient. The team claims to have found the optimal setup for stabilizing blood flow and reducing shear and clinical tests are yet to authenticate the process.

“We discovered that if an AVF is formed via connection of a vein onto the outside of an arterial bend, it stabilizes the flow,” says Peter Vincent, Senior Lecturer and Fellow of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Department of Aeronautics, Imperial College London.

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