To examine the feasibility of combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and dynamically scaled phantom phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging (PC-MRI) for coronary flow assessment.
Materials and methods:
Left main coronary bifurcations segmented from computed tomography with bifurcation angles of 33°, 68°, and 117° were scaled-up ∼7× and 3D printed. Steady coronary flow was reproduced in these phantoms using the principle of dynamic similarity to preserve the true-scale Reynolds number, using blood analog fluid and a pump circuit in a 3T MRI scanner. After PC-MRI acquisition, the data were segmented and coregistered to CFD simulations of identical, but true-scale geometries. Velocities at the inlet region were extracted from the PC-MRI to define the CFD inlet boundary condition.
The PC-MRI and CFD flow data agreed well, and comparison showed: 1) small velocity magnitude discrepancies (2-8%); 2) with a Spearman's rank correlation ≥0.72; and 3) a velocity vector correlation (including direction) of r(2) ≥ 0.82. The highest agreement was achieved for high velocity regions with discrepancies being located in slow or recirculating zones with low MRI signal-to-noise ratio (SNRv ) in tortuous segments and large bifurcating vessels.
Characterization of coronary flow using a dynamically scaled PC-MRI phantom flow is feasible and provides higher resolution than current in vivo or true-scale in vitro methods, and may be used to provide boundary conditions for true-scale CFD simulations. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2016.