Blood flow through a beating heart | Cardiac hemodynamics

Sep 11, 2023

The heart’s internal blood flow is complex, beautiful, and driven by several components, including the four heart valves, ventricular makeup, the rhythmic contraction and relaxation cycles, the automatic nervous system, and hormonal influence. All these factors work in tandem to ensure continuous and efficient circulation of blood throughout the heart and the entire body.

Our goal in this scene was to emulate blood flow in the chambers of the heart using fluid dynamics (in Houdini).

Simulations of this type require a high amount of detail in order to contend with the high velocities of pressure and flow, and to address the thin collision geometry in the valves and between the chambers. 

We rendered this in a style that would feature the blood flow and give the heart more of a fluoroscopy look & feel. Oxygenated blood is shown in red; deoxygenated blood in blue.

The percentage of blood that is pumped out with each beat is called ejection fraction or EF. Normal ejection fraction is greater than 55%.

Comprehending the dynamics of blood flow is pivotal for grasping the nuances of cardiovascular physiology. Analyzing these flow patterns is instrumental in evaluating cardiac performance, specifically when assessing the heart’s diastolic function. Understanding the efficiency of the ventricles filling up before they contract can be crucial when diagnosing heart failure.

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