Large-scale simulation of the human arterial tree

L. Grinberg, T. Anor, J. R. Madsen, A. Yakhot, G. E. Karniadakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


1. Full-scale simulations of the virtual physiological human (VPH) will require significant advances in modelling, multiscale mathematics, scientific computing and further advances in medical imaging. Herein, we review some of the main issues that need to be resolved in order to make three-dimensional (3D) simulations of blood flow in the human arterial tree feasible in the near future. 2. A straightforward approach is computationally prohibitive even on the emerging petaflop supercomputers, so a three-level hierarchical approach based on vessel size is required, consisting of: (i) a macrovascular network (MaN); (ii) a mesovascular network (MeN); and (iii) a microvascular network (MiN). We present recent simulations of MaN obtained by solving the 3D Navier-Stokes equations on arterial networks with tens of arteries and bifurcations and accounting for the neglected dynamics through proper boundary conditions. 3. A multiscale simulation coupling MaN-MeN-MiN and running on hundreds of thousands of processors on petaflop computers will require no more than a few CPU hours per cardiac cycle within the next 5 years. The rapidly growing capacity of supercomputing centres opens up the possibility of simulation studies of cardiovascular diseases, drug delivery, perfusion in the brain and other pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Bioflows
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Medical imaging
  • Multiscale modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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