Fluid dynamics in heart development: Effects of hematocrit and trabeculation

N. A. Battista, A. N. Lane, J. Liu, L. A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Recent in vivo experiments have illustrated the importance of understanding the haemodynamics of heart morphogenesis. In particular, ventricular trabeculation is governed by a delicate interaction between haemodynamic forces, myocardial activity, and morphogen gradients, all of which are coupled to genetic regulatory networks. The underlying haemodynamics at the stage of development in which the trabeculae form is particularly complex, given the balance between inertial and viscous forces. Small perturbations in the geometry, scale, and steadiness of the flow can lead to changes in the overall flow structures and chemical morphogen gradients, including the local direction of flow, the transport of morphogens, and the formation of vortices. The immersed boundary method was used to solve the two-dimensional fluidstructure interaction problem of fluid flow moving through a two chambered heart of a zebrafish (Danio rerio), with a trabeculated ventricle, at 96 hours post fertilization (hpf). Trabeculae heights and hematocrit were varied, and simulations were conducted for two orders of magnitude ofWomersley number, extending beyond the biologically relevant range (0.2 "12.0). Both intracardial and intertrabecular vortices formed in the ventricle for biologically relevant parameter values. The bifurcation from smooth streaming flow to vortical flow depends upon the trabeculae geometry, hematocrit, and Womersley number, Wo. This work shows the importance of hematocrit and geometry in determining the bulk flow patterns in the heart at this stage of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-516
Number of pages24
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 5 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • fluid dynamics
  • haemodynamics
  • heart development
  • hematocrit
  • immersed boundary method
  • trabeculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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