Blood Works

A Complex Flow.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths worldwide, yet researchers still don’t fully understand how blood flows or even which components within blood can lead to cardiac issues.

While several circulatory system models are used today in an attempt to better understand blood flow, they still don’t account for the complex rheological behaviour of blood. Because blood is a complex suspension of red and white blood cells and platelets suspended within a plasma that contains various proteins, it can exhibit complex flow behaviour.

Many of the models currently used, ignore these complexities and assume a Newtonian behaviour or a constant thickness.

During the 88th Annual Meeting of The Society of Rheology, held in Tampa, Florida, Jeffrey S. Horner, a doctoral candidate who works in both the Beris and Wagner Research Groups in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, presented a new approach.

“Our research team aims to explore and model these non-Newtonian characteristics of blood flow through careful, well-documented measurements, and by combining expertise within the fields of rheology, computational modeling and biology,” Horner said.

The goal is to identify key components of blood that directly affect the flow behaviour. “We hope that eventually rheology can be used as a diagnostics tool to detect early signs for cardiovascular disease as well as various other blood diseases,” he said.

This work is a significant departure from previous efforts within the field of blood rheology. “Our experiments are among the first to provide reliable data that properly preconditions the sample and reports the full physiological parameters that affect flow behaviour, all of which are conducted using state-of-the-art rheological equipment,” noted Horner.

The team is also implementing transient tests that to their knowledge, have never been conducted on blood samples before and are designed to explore the flow regimes that occur in the human body. “The modeling we’re doing of transient blood flows is thought to be the first successful effort to represent more than just the steady shear behaviour of human blood,” Horner said.

Once transient behaviour is understood and correlated to the physiological parameters within the blood, “we can then use rheology as a diagnostic tool for human blood,” added Horner. “As a diagnostic tool, it will enable earlier and quicker detection of various diseases.”

Good News For The Heart Bus.

A million-dollar mystery donation will help a mobile heart clinic roll into more rural towns, bringing specialist doctors and lifesaving expertise to the bush.

The Heart of Australia is a cardiology clinic which operates off the back of a truck.

It is the brainchild of engineer-turned-cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes, who equipped the 25-metre truck with all the specialist gear of a city practice.

The semi-trailer blazes a trail through outback Queensland, travelling 8,000 kilometres each month visiting 12 regional towns.

The Brisbane-based doctor said the million-dollar donation came out of the blue and would now allow him to put a second mobile clinic on the road to reach more people in more towns.

“Not every day does someone offer you a million dollars to build your dream,” Dr Gomes said.

The donation was made by a family who wishes to remain anonymous. A family member told Australian Story they were inspired to donate after hearing Dr Gomes speak at an event last year.

The donation was in memory of their late father who also had a love for the bush and believed doctors were vital to the survival of country towns.

“They told me their father had also wanted to try and get doctors out into the bush,” Dr Gomes said.

“He’d spent years trying to create a program but ran into brick walls.”

Almost 3,000 people have been through the doors of the “Heart Bus”, as it is known by local communities, since launching in October 2014.




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