A Primer on Computational Simulation in Congenital Heart Disease for the Clinician

Interest in the application of engineering methods to problems in congenital heart disease has
gained increased popularity over the past decade. The use of computational simulation to
examine common clinical problems including single ventricle physiology and the associated
surgical approaches, the effects of pacemaker implantation on vascular occlusion, or
delineation of the biomechanical effects of implanted medical devices is now routinely
appearing in clinical journals within all pediatric cardiovascular subspecialties. In practice,
such collaboration can only work if both communities understand each other?s methods and
their limitations. This paper is intended to facilitate this communication by presenting in the
context of congenital heart disease (CHD) the main steps involved in performing
computational simulation – from the selection of an appropriate clinical question/problem to
understanding the computational results, and all of the ?black boxes? in between.