Formation and growth of plaques in blood vessels

The formation and growth of plaques in blood vessels is a major cause for various life-threatening illnesses like ischaemia, angina pectoris, cardiac infection, stoke or sudden cardiac death. The different consequences of arteriosclerosis are among the most common causes of death in developed nations. While various structural, clinical and experimental methods exist to evaluate the risks associated with plaques, there is no model for the interaction of the vessel structure and the surrounding hemodynamics. Neither do we know predicative parameters.

This project is devoted to the mathematical modeling and simulation of the interaction between the blood flow and the mechanical and chemical behavior of the vessel walls. Formation and growth of plaques has a significant impact on the mechanical properties of the walls and the geometry of the blood flow. In particular, we are interested in the stresses that appear within the plaques and that could lead to rupture and separation of material into the blood flow. This detached material can bring along clogging of vessels, causing undersupply of tissue or embolisms.

The governing processes of fluid- and structure dynamics are coupled to complex biological and chemical systems. Relevant factors for the transformation of blood vessels are determined in a close cooperation between experts from medicine, mathematical modeling and numerical simulation. Discretization of the coupled system of partial differential equations gives rise to huge systems of nonlinear equations in three dimensions. Standard numerical tools are not available.

 

Name and contact of project responsible(s):

Prof. Dr. T. Richter (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. S. Meairs (Neurology Department of the University Hospital Mannheim)

Involved scientists and partners

Y. Yang (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. W. Jäger (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. M. Hennerci (Neurology Department of the University Hospital Mannheim)

Publications:

S. Frei, T. Richter, T. Wick,
Solid growth and clogging in fluid-structure interaction in ALE and fully Eulerian coordinates,
J. Comp. Physics, 2015.

Y. Yang, W. Jäger, M. Neuss-Radu, T. Richter
Mathematical modeling and simulation of the evolution of plaques in blood vessels,
Submitted to Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2014