The Ewey-Gooey Side of Human Simulation

By Tim
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Courtesy Argonne Labs

Courtesy Argonne Labs

Yep, it had to come to this. If you’re a bit squeamish, you may want to stop reading now. But if you want to know what it takes to accurately simulate the human body and develop innovative medical treatments, then read on… at your own risk.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, bioengineers must accurately model human body tissue in order to perform realistic simulation of medical devices and treatments. So, what is human body tissue? Here’s a simple definition of biological tissue from www.dictionary.com: “An aggregate of similar cells and cell products forming a definite kind of structural material with a specific function, in a multicellular organism”.

Still with me? This blog is going to get gooey really fast.

Check out how engineers at Argonne Labs along with researchers as the University of Chicago Medical School are using Abaqus FEA to simulate the effect of cooling kidneys with ice slurry to prolong surgery procedures. Their innovative coolant enables surgeons to nearly triple the time allotted for laparoscopic procedures. Take a peak at their animation of the kidney cooling analysis here.

Courtesy University of Frankfurt

Courtesy University of Frankfurt

Who wants bedsores? Not me, nor the patients who experience prolonged periods of bed rest. Unfortunately, this painful and health-threatening problem strikes thousands of patients every year. Researchers at the University of Frankfurt are working to solve this problem by using Abaqus to analyze how patient contact with hospital beds cause internal stress and strain on human tissue. Check out their case study at Product Design and Development’s website.

Prefer some more cerebral images? Check out the analysis and visualization being peformed by bioengineers at Boston University.

Courtesy Boston University
Courtesy Boston University

They are using Abaqus to study how electrodes perform when implanted into a patient’s brain to monitor epileptic activity for surgical pre-evaluation. You can read details of their brain EEG study in this related Abaqus Tech Brief.

So, if you’re not completely grossed out by all the human tissue flying around, then do a Google search using the key words human tissue simulation with Abaqus.

Let me know if you find some good, ‘ewey-gooey’ realistic simuation examples.

Enjoy

Tim
ps – In future posts I will continue our medical journey, but for now I need some fresh air.

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

By Tim
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Courtesy Sunshine Heart

Courtesy Sunshine Heart

While I know that I should eat well, exercise regularly, not smoke, and have regular checkups – I don’t always do these healthy things, which puts me at greater risk for developing a heart condition. 

Apparently, I am not alone. I just read some staggering statistics on Heart Failure (HF) at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Five million people in the United States suffer from HF and 500,000 more are expected to join their ranks each year.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the 2006 costs associated with HF in the U.S. was 29.6 billion dollars.

Thankfully, there are many bioengineering researchers in the world who are using realistic simulation technology to study the heart and associated medical devices in amazing levels of detail.

Click to view animation of Stent analysis using Abaqus FEA

Click to view animation of Stent analysis using Abaqus FEA

Performing realistic 3D simulation of the human heart and medical devices requires being able to model human tissue, blood flow, nonlinear structures, and complex contact between the devices and the heart. SIMULIA has developed robust finite element analysis (FEA) and multiphysics technology within the Abaqus Unified FEA product suite.  This technology is being used by bioengineering researchers to simulate realistic physical behavior of the medical devices interacting with the heart, arteries, and blood vessels.

One of those researchers is Dr. William Peters, a cardiothoracic surgeon and and founder of Sunshine Heart in New Zealand. His patented C-Pulse has recently been accepted for human trials in the U.S. The device consists of a cuff that wraps around the aorta that inflates and deflates a membrane against the vessel’s external walls. This process makes the aorta pulsate in time with the heart, augmenting blood flow through the circulatory system and reducing the strain on the entire heart. Check out the complete case study here.

Milton DeHerrera Ph.D of Edwards Lifesciences  is another innovative bioengineer. At the 2009 SIMULIA Customer Conference, he presented a paper on the “Numerical Study of Metal Fatigue in a Superelastic Anchoring Stent Embedded in a Hyperelastic Tube”, coauthored by Wei Sun, Ph.D from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Their research is intended to  improve the virtual representation of human tissue and medical device interaction.

Adding to the complexity of developing medical devices is that ‘one-size does not always fit-all’. Dr.   Ken Perry has a cool medical device simulation blog site detailing his use of FEA and associated validation processes. Check out a couple of his recent posts – Identifying Worst Case Device Sizes and FEA and the FDA .

These dedicated researchers are helping to develop amazingly innovative and effective treatments that are truly capable of ‘mending broken hearts’. Now that I am aware of the alarming heart failure statistics, I plan to take a little more initiative in trying to keep my heart healthy.

Pass the fruit, veggies, and oats…will you join me?

Take care
Tim

PS: This is part 2 of my ongoing series on how realistic simulation is being used to improve medical devices and enhance the quality of our lives, stay tuned.



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