Experimental and numerical investigation of blood flow in the aorta : a tool to predict disease progression.
In western countries the economic and social costs associated to cardiovascular diseases are fastly increasing with population age and life expectancy and because of the effects of unhealthy lifestyles. Therefore, to recognize a cardiac pathology at its early stage appears to be fundamental in the cardiovascular diagnostic process as it may prevent from possible complications and/or from surgery. This research aims to integrate a set of consolidated tools as laboratory experiments, numerical simulations and medical imaging in order to predict the disease progression and, possibly, the effectiveness of surgical procedures with significant impacts in the clinical practice. The focus will be on the aorta, the largest artery in the vascular system. In particular, we intend to investigate in deep the following issues:
- interaction of the flow in the ascending aorta with aortic valve dynamics;
- morphological changes of the vessel.
The selected (healthy and/or pathological) configurations will be studied both by laboratory experiments and by numerical simulations with the aim of cross-validating the results and describing the physical processes involved in a specific pathology. When possible, the medical literature will be associated to these results so as to provide them the required consistency to serve as clinical support.