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Published April 18, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Optimal vortex formation as an index of cardiac health


Heart disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Previous research has indicated that the dynamics of the cardiac left ventricle (LV) during diastolic filling may play a critical role in dictating overall cardiac health. Hence, numerous studies have aimed to predict and evaluate global cardiac health based on quantitative parameters describing LV function. However, the inherent complexity of LV diastole, in its electrical, muscular, and hemodynamic processes, has prevented the development of tools to accurately predict and diagnose heart failure at early stages, when corrective measures are most effective. In this work, it is demonstrated that major aspects of cardiac function are reflected uniquely and sensitively in the optimization of vortex formation in the blood flow during early diastole, as measured by a dimensionless numerical index. This index of optimal vortex formation correlates well with existing measures of cardiac health such as the LV ejection fraction. However, unlike existing measures, this previously undescribed index does not require patient-specific information to determine numerical index values corresponding to normal function. A study of normal and pathological cardiac health in human subjects demonstrates the ability of this global index to distinguish disease states by a straightforward analysis of noninvasive LV measurements.

Additional Information

© 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences Communicated by Anatol Roshko, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, January 27, 2006 (received for review August 24, 2005) We thank the Vascular Imaging Research Center, Department of Radiology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center/University of California, San Francisco, for providing in vivo magnetic resonance images. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Author contributions: M.G., E.R., and D.J.S. designed research; M.G., E.R., and J.O.D. performed research; M.G., E.R., A.K., and J.O.D. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; M.G., E.R., and J.O.D. analyzed data; and M.G. and J.O.D. wrote the paper. Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023