A combined computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methodology has been developed to simulate blood flow in a subject-specific left heart. The research continues from earlier experience in modeling the human left ventricle using time-varying anatomical MR scans. Breathing artifacts are reduced by means of a MR navigator echo sequence with feedback to the subject, allowing a near constant breath-hold diaphragm position. An improved interactive segmentation technique for the long- and short-axis anatomical slices is used. The computational domain is extended to include the proximal left atrium and ascending aorta as well as the left ventricle, and the mitral and aortic valve orifices are approximately represented. The CFD results show remarkable correspondence with the MR velocity data acquired for comparison purposes, as well as with previously published in vivo experiments (velocity and pressure). Coherent vortex formation is observed below the mitral valve, with a larger anterior vortex dominating the late-diastolic phases. Some quantitative discrepancies exist between the CFD and MRI flow velocities, owing to the limitations of the MR dataset in the valve region, heart rate differences in the anatomical and velocity acquisitions, and to certain phenomena that were not simulated. The CFD results compare well with measured ranges in literature
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