This article illustrates increasing implementation of engineering technology in the medical industry. Computer images form the basis of models that can guide surgeons through the unique fluid dynamics of each patient. Computer-assisted surgeries, in which doctors get real-time information about their patients as they operate, are becoming more common, but computers still are not usual operating room tools. A medical tool of today could be used in the operating room to capture information about the patient’s condition and feed it to a computer. David Gosman and his team at Imperial College are adapting technology originally developed to simulate airflow through a reciprocating internal combustion engine so that it can be applied to study the human heart. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta are also studying blood flow. They have an eye toward using the information to design better artificial heart valves. Numerical modelling techniques originally developed by the institute to simulate how water flows around hydraulic structures like bridge foundations are finding a second use in helping researchers better understand blood flow patterns through artificial mechanical heart valves.

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