Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques have progressed to a point where they can be routinely applied towards the simulation of blood flow dynamics in the human vasculature. Patient-specific geometries and physiologically accurate flow rates can be obtained from clinical images to provide accurate boundary conditions for these simulations. Advances in computer hardware and CFD software in recent years have reduced the simulation computing time from days to hours. Such a time frame permits incorporation of the information obtained with CFD into the clinical workflow for the surgical repair vascular pathologies. In this article, the concepts of CFD are introduced via a patient-specific simulation of the hemodynamics in a type III B aortic dissection. Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of how to optimize CFD simulations so that their results may be of clinical value to the treating surgeon. Limitations as they exist today are discussed.
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