Demonstration of Patient-Specific Simulations to Assess Left Atrial Appendage Thrombogenesis Risk

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) alters left atrial (LA) hemodynamics, which can lead to thrombosis in the left atrial appendage (LAA), systemic embolism and stroke. A personalized risk-stratification of AF patients for stroke would permit improved balancing of preventive anticoagulation therapies against bleeding risk. We investigated how LA anatomy and function impact LA and LAA hemodynamics, and explored whether patient-specific analysis by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can predict the risk of LAA thrombosis. We analyzed 4D-CT acquisitions of LA wall motion with an in-house immersed-boundary CFD solver. We considered six patients with diverse atrial function, three with either a LAA thrombus (removed digitally before running the simulations) or a history of transient ischemic attacks (LAAT/TIA-pos), and three without a LAA thrombus or TIA (LAAT/TIA-neg). We found that blood inside the left atrial appendage of LAAT/TIA-pos patients had marked alterations in residence time and kinetic energy when compared with LAAT/TIA-neg patients. In addition, we showed how the LA conduit, reservoir and booster functions distinctly affect LA and LAA hemodynamics. Finally, fixed-wall and moving-wall simulations produced different LA hemodynamics and residence time predictions for each patient. Consequently, fixed-wall simulations risk-stratified our small cohort for LAA thrombosis worse than moving-wall simulations, particularly patients with intermediate LAA residence time. Overall, these results suggest that both wall kinetics and LAA morphology contribute to LAA blood stasis and thrombosis.
Computational fluid dynamics, Cardiovascular hemodynamics, Atrial fibrillation, Computed tomography, Imaged-based simulation, Immersed boundary method, Thrombosis, Left atrium
Bibliographic citation
García-Villalba, M., Rossini, L., Gonzalo, A., Vigneault, D. M., Martinez-Legazpi, P., Duran, E., Flores, O., Bermejo, J., McVeigh, E. R., Kahn, A. M., & Del Álamo, J. C. (2021). Demonstration of Patient-Specific Simulations to Assess Left Atrial Appendage Thrombogenesis Risk. Frontiers in Physiology, 12: 596596.