Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Advisor 1

Jingfeng Jiang

Advisor 2

Feng Zhao

Committee Member 1

Sean Krikpatrick

Committee Member 2

Gowtham Shankara

Committee Member 3

Min Wang


Subarachnoid hemorrhage is a potentially devastating pathological condition in which bleeding occurs into the space surrounding the brain. One of the prominent sources of subarachnoid hemorrhage are intracranial aneurysms (IA): degenerative, irregular expansions of area(s) of the cerebral vasculature. In the event of IA rupture, the resultant subarachnoid hemorrhage ends in patient mortality occurring in ~50% of cases, with survivors enduring significant neurological damage with physical or cognitive impairment. The seriousness of IA rupture drives a degree of clinical interest in understanding these conditions that promote both the development and possible rupture of the vascular malformations. Current metrics for the assessment of this pathology rely on measuring the geometric characteristics of a patient's vessel and/or IA, as well as the hemodynamic stressors existing along the vessel wall. Comparatively less focus has been granted toward understanding the characteristics of much of the bulk-flow within the vasculature and how it may play a role in IAs. Specifically, swirling hemodynamic flow (vortices) have been suggested as a condition which exacerbates vascular changes leading to IAs, yet quantified measurements of the spatial and temporal characteristics of vortices remain overlooked.

This dissertation studies the role of the spatial and temporal characteristics of vortex flow and how it plays a role on IA pathology. Its chapters are a collection of five (5) works into this matter. First, established methods for the identification of vortices was investigated, and a novel method for vortex identification and quantification of their characteristics was developed to overcome the limitations of previous methods. Second, the developed method for vortex identification/quantification was then applied to a simulation study to improve predictive models aimed at predicting areas of IA development from those unlikely to suffer this pathology. Third, assessing how the simulated repair of one IA impacts changes to hemodynamic conditions within other nearby un-repaired IAs in a multiple IA system. Fourth, it was determined if vortex identification/quantification improved predictive models aimed at differentiation ruptured from unruptured IAs. Fifth, impart vortical flow of differing characteristics onto cultured vascular cells to determine if vortex stability imparts varied levels of cellular changes.