Optimal vortex formation as an index of cardiac health

Morteza Gharib, Edmond Rambod, Arash Kheradvar, David J. Sahn, John O. Dabiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

274 Scopus citations


Heart disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Previous research has indicated that the dynamics of the cardiac left ventricle (LV) during diastolic filling may play a critical role in dictating overall cardiac health. Hence, numerous studies have aimed to predict and evaluate global cardiac health based on quantitative parameters describing LV function. However, the inherent complexity of LV diastole, in its electrical, muscular, and hemodynamic processes, has prevented the development of tools to accurately predict and diagnose heart failure at early stages, when corrective measures are most effective. In this work, it is demonstrated that major aspects of cardiac function are reflected uniquely and sensitively in the optimization of vortex formation in the blood flow during early diastole, as measured by a dimensionless numerical index. This index of optimal vortex formation correlates well with existing measures of cardiac health such as the LV ejection fraction. However, unlike existing measures, this previously undescribed index does not require patient-specific information to determine numerical index values corresponding to normal function. A study of normal and pathological cardiac health in human subjects demonstrates the ability of this global index to distinguish disease states by a straightforward analysis of noninvasive LV measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6305-6308
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 18 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofluid dynamics
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Left ventricle
  • Mitral flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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