Research & Data

Combining medical and engineering sciences

Research 

Coronary Flow Atlas

More than 2 million stents are implanted every year worldwide, yet nearly 10% of them still fail. Think about it, that’s more than 200,000 affected patients every year. Additional procedures, expensive drug treatment and severely limited enjoyment of life are just a few of the consequences.

Our team made it their goal to understand the reasons WHY stents fail, how we can improve them and help more patients effectively.

We are currently expanding the largest database of population vessel shape to date. Sophisticated statistics can help us to understand which groups are at higher risk before disease stage is severe. Magnetic resonance imaging and super-computer blood flow simulations are just some of the powerful tools we use to drive this research further.

Ultimately, this can help heart disease patients worldwide by providing a reliable and early risk assessment, improving patient care and enabling patient-specific treatment.

Stenting considerations

Stents are tiny meshed wired tubes which function as scaffolds to re-open blocked blood vessels narrowed by disease. Artery disease remains the single largest killer in this world. Statistically every 4th person will die from its consequences with a grim future outlook on improvement. Stents are usually very effective and are often the most preferred treatment method for later stage disease.

More than 2 million stents are implanted every year worldwide, yet nearly 10% of them still fail. Think about it, that’s more than 200,000 affected patients every year. Additional procedures, expensive drug treatment and severely limited enjoyment of life are just a few of the consequences.

Our team made it their goal to understand the reasons WHY stents fail, how we can improve them and help more patients effectively.

Variation in the population

The largest vessel bifurcation is the left main. It is commonly affected by disease and thus focus of many discussions amongst experts regarding the best treatment approach. Understanding difference in left mains in a large population can significantly help to improve treatment and translate it from a generic to a patient cantered approach, whereby individual differences are accounted for.

Disease maps for population groups

The coronary arteries consist of a left and a right main branch. Each continue to branch of into smaller and a smaller vessels. Bifurcations are the regions called where the vessels split.

The analysis of more than 200 patient’s medical images found that there are profound differences in the different bifurcations in one patient, but also vary significantly across patients with some common trends.  This has a significant impact in treating these vessel segments when diseased, whereby one stent may not fit all bifurcations or patients.

Machine learning to identify adverse vessel shape

Advances in computing hardware and machine learning are revolutionising data intensive research. By accumulating a large database of coronary arteries, we have a unique opportunity to use machine learning to improve risk modelling and the prediction of heart disease. In particular, we are interested in how the latest approaches in artificial neural networks could be used to develop software capable of helping medical specialists with early detection of at-risk patients. Our ambition is to use medical image data together with fluid-flow simulations to train deep neural networks capable of identifying adverse geometries and advance segmentation techniques.

Kernel Machine by SemperVinco is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Process 

Your role 

The Coronary Atlas project welcomes collaboration and involvement by interested parties. If you are a researcher, cardiologist, developer or student with a professional interest in the project, please get in touch.

 

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Patients

Want to know more about our research? Look at the Global context page, or listen to the RadioNZ interview of the atlas or flow experiments.

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Cardiologists

Want to contribute? Contact the team. Keep updated with the latest interventional strategy recommendations see our talks.

researchers - get involved

Researchers

Do you want to contribute or us to share CTCA images, STL files for computing or 3D printing? Or access to the statistical data? No problem. Contact us for details.

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Developers

Want to explore, have ideas or want to create your own? We are happy to chat. Contact us for details.

Students

We are currently recruiting Masters and Ph.D. students and are happy to accept interns. Contact us for more information.

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