Developing a Computational Model to Predict Clot Transport

Project: Research project

Project Details


The research supported by this award will develop a new tool to better understand potentially dangerous complications that can occur with biomedical implants. Blood-contacting devices such as a heart valves, stents, catheters, and blood pumps are successfully implanted into thousands of patients every year in the United States. While huge strides have been made in improving their safety and effectiveness, the formation of blood clots in these devices remains a leading problem. When a clot forms in a device, it can prevent it from working properly, or break away from the device and result in complications such as stroke. This work will develop a computational tool to simulate how blood flow and biochemistry in these devices interact to result in clotting. This tool will take advantage of state-of-the-art supercomputing resources made available by the National Science Foundation. Thanks to recent efforts to promote the use of such computer simulations in approval of new biomedical devices, there is potential for this work to impact human health. Specifically, the model developed here may be used to offer additional evidence of safety and effectiveness of new devices, reduce development costs, and shorten time to market. This research combines several disciplines, including biochemistry, physics, and high-performance computing, and will help broaden the participation of underrepresented groups.

Various blood-contacting cardiovascular devices have been shown to improve outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease, but thromboembolism remains as a leading risk factor. The nature of these devices makes in-vitro investigation of thromboembolism complicated and costly, leaving gaps in the understanding of the complex interactions between the device and the body. The goal of this research is to develop an in-silico method to model thromboembolism, incorporating biochemical surface interactions between blood and synthetic materials, the kinetics of the coagulation cascade, and the viscoelastic properties of blood clots into a fluid-dynamics solver. Important model processes will be experimentally validated, including concentration curves of pro-coagulant plasma proteins, clot mechanical properties, and fluid-dynamic conditions where embolization occurs. To address the large uncertainties and phenomenology in many of the simulated processes, Monte-Carlo experiments will be used to evaluate the credibility of the models' predictions.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date9/1/208/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $532,497.00


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