Sources of error in CEMRA-based CFD simulations of the common carotid artery

Muhammad Owais Khan, Bruce A. Wasserman, David A. Steinman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Magnetic resonance imaging is often used as a source for reconstructing vascular anatomy for the purpose of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. We recently observed large discrepancies in such "image-based" CFD models of the normal common carotid artery (CCA) derived from contrast enhanced MR angiography (CEMRA), when compared to phase contrast MR imaging (PCMRI) of the same subjects. A novel quantitative comparison of velocity profile shape of N=20 cases revealed an average 25% overestimation of velocities by CFD, attributed to a corresponding underestimation of lumen area in the CEMRA-derived geometries. We hypothesized that this was due to blurring of edges in the images caused by dilution of contrast agent during the relatively long elliptic centric CEMRA acquisitions, and confirmed this with MRI simulations. Rescaling of CFD models to account for the lumen underestimation improved agreement with the velocity levels seen in the corresponding PCMRI images, but discrepancies in velocity profile shape remained, with CFD tending to over-predict velocity profile skewing. CFD simulations incorporating realistic inlet velocity profiles and non-Newtonian rheology had a negligible effect on velocity profile skewing, suggesting a role for other sources of error or modeling assumptions. In summary, our findings suggest that caution should be exercised when using elliptic-centric CEMRA data as a basis for image-based CFD modeling, and emphasize the importance of comparing image-based CFD models against in vivo data whenever possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2013
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
StatePublished - Jun 10 2013
EventMedical Imaging 2013: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 12 2013Feb 14 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherMedical Imaging 2013: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • Blood flow dynamics
  • Carotid artery
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Image simulation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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