Modelling of impaired cerebral blood flow due to gaseous emboli

Hague, J. P.; Banahan, C. and Chung, E. M. L. (2013). Modelling of impaired cerebral blood flow due to gaseous emboli. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 58(13) pp. 4381–4394.




Bubbles introduced to the arterial circulation during invasive medical procedures can have devastating consequences for brain function but their effects are currently difficult to quantify. Here we present a Monte Carlo simulation investigating the impact of gas bubbles on cerebral blood flow. For the first time, this model includes realistic adhesion forces, bubble deformation, fluid dynamical considerations, and bubble dissolution. This allows investigation of the effects of buoyancy, solubility, and blood pressure on embolus clearance. Our results illustrate that blockages depend on several factors, including the number and size distribution of incident emboli, dissolution time and blood pressure. We found it essential to model the deformation of bubbles to avoid overestimation of arterial obstruction. Incorporation of buoyancy effects within our model slightly reduced the overall level of obstruction but did not decrease embolus clearance times. We found that higher blood pressures generate lower levels of obstruction and improve embolus clearance. Finally, we demonstrate the effects of gas solubility and discuss potential clinical applications of the model.

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