Computational patient-specific models based on 3-D ultrasound data to quantify uterine arterial flow during pregnancy

Giancarlo Pennati, Laura Socci, Serena Rigano, Simona Boito, Enrico Ferrazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information on uterine blood flow rate during pregnancy would widely improve our knowledge on feto-placental patho-physiology. Ultrasonographic flow rate evaluation requires the knowledge of the spatial velocity profiles throughout the investigated vessel; these data may be obtained from hemodynamic simulations with accurate computational models. Recently, computational models of superficial vessels have been created using 3-D ultrasound data; unfortunately, common reconstruction methods are unsuitable for the uterine arteries due to the low quality achievable of imaged deep vessels. In this paper a simplified spline-based technique was applied to create computational models for patient-specific simulations of uterine arterial heamodynamics. Moreover, a novel method to quantify the uterine flow rates was developed based on echo-Doppler measurements and computational data. Preliminary results obtained for four patients indicated a quite narrow range for the blood flow rate through the main uterine artery with large variability in the flow split between corporal and cervical branches. Furthermore, parabolic-like velocity profiles were obtained in the branching region of the different patients, suggesting a clinical use of averaged, not patient-specific, spatial velocity distribution coefficients for the blood flow rate calculation. The developed reconstruction method based on 3-D ultrasound imaging is efficient for creating realistic custom models of the uterine arteries. The results of the fluid dynamic simulations allowed us to quantify the uterine arterial flow and its repartition in normal pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4505800
Pages (from-to)1715-1722
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Custom models
  • Three-dimensional ultrasound
  • Uterine blood flow rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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