Background. The treatment of coronary stenosis relies on invasive high risk surgical assessment to generate the fractional flow reserve diagnostics index, a ratio of distal to proximal pressures in respect of coronary atherosclerotic plaque causing stenosis. Non-invasive methods are therefore a need of the times. This study proposes an extensible mathematical description of the coronary vasculature that permits rapid estimation of the coronary fractional flow reserve. Methods. By adapting an existing closed loop model of human coronary blood flow, the effects of large vessel stenosis and microvascular disease on fractional flow reserve were quantified. Several simula-tions generated flow and pressure information which was used to compute fractional flow re-serve under a spectrum of conditions including focal stenosis, diffuse stenosis, and microvascular disease. Sensitivity analysis stratified the influence of model parameters on the index. The model was simulated as coupled non-linear ordinary differential equations and numerically solved us-ing an implicit higher order method. Results. Large vessel stenosis affected fractional flow re-serve. The model predicts that the presence, rather than severity, of microvascular disease affect coronary flow deleteriously. Sensitivity analysis revealed that heart rate may not affect the index. Conclusions. The model provides a computationally inexpensive instrument for future in silico coronary blood flow investigations as well as clinical-imaging decision making. A combination of focal and diffuse stenosis appears to be essential in reducing the index. In addition to pressure measurements in the large epicardial vessels, diagnosis of microvascular disease is essential. The independence of the index with respect to heart rate suggests that computationally inexpensive steady state simulations may provide sufficient information to reliably compute the index.
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