3D printing (3DP) used to replicate the geometry of normal and abnormal vascular pathologies has been demonstrated in many publications; however, reproduction of hemodynamic changes due to physical activities, such as rest versus moderate exercise, need to be investigated. We developed a new design for patient specific coronary phantoms, which allow adjustable physiological variables such as coronary distal resistance and coronary compliance in patients with coronary artery disease. The new design was tested in precise benchtop experiments and compared with a theoretical Windkessel electrical circuit equivalent, that models coronary flow and pressure using arterial resistance and compliance.
Five phantoms from patients who underwent clinically indicated elective invasive coronary angiography were built from CCTA scans using multi-material 3D printing. Each phantom was used in a controlled flow system where patient specific flow conditions were simulated by a programmable cardiac pump. To simulate the arteriole and capillary beds flow resistance and the compliance for various physical activities, we designed a three-chamber outlet system which controls the outflow dynamics of each coronary tree. Benchtop pressure measurements were recorded using sensors embedded in each of the main coronary arteries. Using the Windkessel model, patient specific flow equivalent electrical circuit models were designed for each coronary tree branch, and flow in each artery was determined for known inflow conditions. Local flow resistances were calculated through Poiseuille’s Law derived from the radii and lengths of the coronary arteries using CT angiography based multi-planar reconstructions. The coronary stenosis flow rates from the benchtop and the electrical models were compared to the localized flow rates calculated from invasive pressure measurements recorded in the angio-suites.
The average Pearson correlations of the localized flow rates at the location of the stenosis between each of the models (Benchtop/Electrical, Benchtop/Angio, Electrical/Angio) are 0.970, 0.981, and 0.958 respectively.
3D printed coronary phantoms can be used to replicate the human arterial anatomy as well as blood flow conditions. It displays high levels of correlation when compared to hemodynamics calculated in electrically-equivalent coronary Windkessel models as well as invasive angio-suite pressure measurements.