MSE Research Project Database

Biomechanics of the heart in children with single ventricle heart disease

Project Leader: Vijayaraghavan Rajagopal
Collaborators: Jonathan Mynard (MCRI)
Primary Contact: Vijay Rajagopal (
Keywords: biomechanics; fluid structure interactions; heart; numerical modelling; systems biology
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Systems Biology Laboratory

Each year, approximately 30 children are born in Australia with a form of congenital heart disease that means only one out of the two heart pumps (ventricles) is functionally viable. Currently, the best chance of survival comes with a series of three complex operations that result in a Fontan circulation, where a single ventricle pumps blood to the body and the major veins are connected directly to the pulmonary arteries to supply lung blood flow. Although medium-term survival is improving, these patients have reduced exercise capacity and a significant risk of heart failure. In this project, students will analyse magnetic resonance imaging data acquired at the Royal Children’s Hospital before and after exercise in children with a Fontan circulation.

Students will construct three-dimensional models of the heart and its chambers. Heart deformation will be assessed to quantify cardiac strain and stress patterns, to assess the risk of current interventions introducing unintended long-term complications in ventricular function.