Personalized Blood Flow Modeling Benefits from Virtual Reality Interface

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Researchers
at Duke University have developed a fluid dynamics simulator that can model
blood flow within the body, including the motion of individual blood cells. The
researchers hope that the system could eventually be used by clinicians to
model blood flow for individual patients and help with treatment decisions,
such as stent placement.

By testing various graphical user interfaces for the system, the research team learned that both a virtual reality system and a traditional computer were easily used by participants, but most preferred the VR interface, suggesting that it could help to increase user uptake of the system.

“As
cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the US,
the ability to improve treatment planning and outcome remains a significant
challenge,” said Amanda Randles, a researcher involved in the study. “With the
maturity and availability of VR/AR devices, we need to understand the role
these technologies can play in the interaction with such data. This research is
a much-needed step for developing future software to combat cardiovascular
disease.”

The research team has been developing this software for over a decade. So far, they have shown that it can be used to model blood vessels from individual patients using data from biomedical imaging. Moreover, the system can also model blood flow through the entire body if required.   

However, in
its original form, the system wasn’t easy to use, requiring knowledge of
computer programming languages, meaning that it wouldn’t be accessible to
clinicians. To solve this, the researchers have been developing a graphical
user interface, and have recently experimented with several methods with which
users can interact with the 3D vascular models, including the traditional
computer monitor and mouse approach and an immersive virtual reality approach.

They tested
the interfaces by asking students and researchers to model cardiovascular
procedures, such as stent placement, in the 3D simulation. The participants
were able to use the different interfaces without too much difficulty, but
enjoyed the VR headset the most.

“People
enjoyed the 3D interface more,” said Randles. “And if they enjoyed it more,
they’re more likely to actually use it. It could also be a fun and exciting way
to get students engaged in classes about the vasculature system and
hemodynamics.”

See a video about the system below:

Study in Journal of Computational Science: Harvis:
an interactive virtual reality tool for hemodynamic modification and simulation

Via: Duke University





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