Article ID: rev.2021-0097
Blood flow imaging becomes an emerging trend in cardiology with the recent progress in computer technology. It not only visualizes colorful flow velocity streamlines but also quantifies the mechanical stress on cardiovascular structures; thus, it can provide the detailed inspections of the pathophysiology of diseases and predict the prognosis of cardiovascular functions. Clinical applications include the comprehensive assessment of hemodynamics and cardiac functions in echocardiography vector flow mapping (VFM), 4D flow MRI, and surgical planning as a simulation medicine in computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
For evaluation of the hemodynamics, novel mathematically derived parameters obtained using measured velocity distributions are essential. Among them, the traditional and typical parameters are wall shear stress (WSS) and its related parameters. These parameters indicate the mechanical damages to endothelial cells, resulting in degenerative intimal change in vascular diseases. Apart from WSS, there are abundant parameters that describe the strength of the vortical and/or helical flow patterns. For instance, vorticity, enstrophy, and circulation indicate the rotating flow strength or power of 2D vortical flows. In addition, helicity, which is defined as the cross-linking number of the vortex filaments, indicates the 3D helical flow strength and adequately describes the turbulent flow in the aortic root in cases with complicated anatomies. For the description of turbulence caused by the diseased flow, there exist two types of parameters based on completely different concepts, namely: energy loss (EL) and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). EL is the dissipated energy with blood viscosity and evaluates the cardiac workload related to the prognosis of heart failure. TKE describes the fluctuation in kinetic energy during turbulence, which describes the severity of the diseases that cause jet flow. These parameters are based on intuitive and clear physiological concepts, and are suitable for in vivo flow measurements using inner velocity profiles.