Computational feasibility of calculating the steady-state blood flow rate through the vasculature of the entire human body

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The human body contains approximately 20 billion individual blood vessels that deliver nutrients and oxygen to tissues. While blood flow is a well-developed field of research, no previous studies have calculated the blood flow rates through more than 5 million connected vessels. The goal of this study was to test if it is computationally feasible to calculate the blood flow rates through a vasculature equal in size to that of the human body. We designed and implemented a two-step algorithm to calculate the blood flow rates using principles of steady-state fluid dynamics. Steady-state fluid dynamics is an accurate approximation for the microvascular and venous structures in the human body. To determine the computational feasibility, we measured and evaluated the execution time, scalability, and memory usage to quantify the computational requirements. We demonstrated that it is computationally feasible to calculate the blood flow rate through 17 billion vessels in 6.5 hours using 256 compute nodes. The computational modeling of blood flow rate in entire organisms may find application in research on drug delivery, treatment of cancer metastases, and modulation of physiological performance.

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Biomedical physics & engineering express

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