Will Digital Twins Improve Healthcare for Their Real-World Counterparts?

Doctor using a digital twin to develop personalized treatment.

Your digital twin will one day inform the treatment your healthcare providers implement.

Healthcare is rapidly embracing digital twin technology. The goal of this trend is to deliver data-driven personalized medicine.

Digital twins are built on computer-based, or in silico, models that are fed individual and population data.

Researchers are aided by these digital representations of human physiology in their studies of disease, new drugs and devices. Healthcare industry leaders and FDA authorities suggest that digital twins help to accelerate medical innovation and regulatory approval.

In the future, these tools may even help doctors accurately optimize the performance of patient-specific treatment plans. Continue reading

The Winner of the Discovery Live Design Competition May Save Your Life

Discovery Live Design Competition logoEarlier this year we kicked off the ANSYS Discovery Live Engineering Design Competition on the heels of the Discovery Live technology preview. Judging by the feedback and participation, it was a tremendous success. Many users shared stories of their simulation-aided design innovations and spoke of the knowledge they acquired from simulation — without the need for supercomputing. Initially, we selected three winners; in this blog, we wish to shine a spotlight on our first-place winner, Ninsight’s Michael Stadler. Continue reading

Designing a More Effective Left Ventricular Assist Device Using CFD Simulation

Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) support patients who have reached end-stage heart failure. The surgically implanted LVAD, a battery-operated, mechanical pump, helps the left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood to the rest of the body. Cardiac surgeons may use LVADs as a “bridge” to maintain cardiac output for patients waiting for a heart transplant. Some patients who are not candidates for heart transplants can also use an LVAD to prolong and improve their lives.

Current LVAD devices present several technology challenges that limit their effectiveness including size and battery life. At FineHeart, a French medical device company focused on creating technologies in the cardiovascular space, we are overcoming those challenges with our new patented rotary pump, ICOMS (Implantable Cardiac Output Management System). This novel, wireless fully implantable mechanical circulatory support device can optimize cardiac output while preserving the heart’s innate contractility. It is a game-changing therapy for long-term circulatory assistance in severe heart failure patients.

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Simulation Spurs Stent Innovation

Medicine comprises multiple challenges due to the ongoing development of science and daily discoveries regarding the treatment of diseases. As human life expectancy increases, medical devices, such as a stents and many others, must also continue to evolve to offer more effective and accessible technology for patients of all ages. There are still many countries, however, in which there is no access to appropriate healthcare due to poverty, corruption or appropriation of the resources.

Bioana is a Mexican company dedicated to the design and development of accessible medical technology. Its innovations begin with the recognition of real medical needs and are realized with the use of simulation software to create medical devices used in cardiology, diagnostics and orthopedics.

Finding the Functional Design

For a medical device to be sold commercially, manufacturers must first and foremost demonstrate its functional safety to ensure there is no risk to patients. Before we identify the best performing device, we cycle through multiple design iterations and use ANSYS simulation software for geometry testing and design enhancement.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the globe. To address this, we design our vascular implants with the aim to increase the accessibility of this hard-to-afford technology.
In cardiovascular disease, fatty deposits build up within the inner walls of the blood vessels. Once the deposits grow, they can produce blood flow blockage that can cause heart attacks or strokes. Vascular stents open the vessels and help restore the blood flow.

Of all the design requirements for these vascular devices, the most important is the devices’ ability to withstand the permanent loading applied due to the pulsatile blood flow. Continue reading

ANSYS on Capitol Hill: Simulation is An Important Component to Solve the Global Healthcare Issue

Over the last six months, significant progress has been made to foster Transatlantic collaboration in the area of in silico medicine. I say significant because the collaboration is now being fostered beyond the technical level. It is happening at the regulatory and policy levels. On October 11th, 2016, the U.S. FDA spoke at the European Parliament as part of an inauguration event for the Avicenna Alliance, the association of predictive medicine, of which ANSYS is a founding member. Last week, the collaboration was reciprocated. The Avicenna Alliance was invited by the FDA and by the staff of Senator T. Cochran to discuss the role of in silico medicine in both a technical context at the 2017 BMES conference and also at the policy level on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

4 Reasons to Avoid Simulation in Healthcare: Let’s Discuss it in Boston!

LabCentral in Cambridge, MA, is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups.

Many claim that engineering simulation in healthcare will be critical. The only way to get a clear and complete answer would be to ask the question “Is simulation essential for healthcare?” to the people using computer modeling and simulation (CM&S) routinely for medical device design, biotech or pharmaceutical process modeling during the ANSYS Healthcare Innovation Conference in Cambridge, MA on May 10th. Continue reading

3 Milestones on Our Way to the Medical Digital Twin: ANSYS Leads the Charge

In September 2016, I wrote about the medical digital twin concept. I continue to read numerous articles showing confidence that we are indeed on our way towards the medical digital twin. One particular article from the BBC nicely described how our heart digital twin could prevent its failure. If everybody agrees this is the direction we need to follow, many think that the medical digital twin is a concept way ahead in the future.

I slightly disagree as there are 3 major on-going initiatives paving the way to the medical digital twin likely to reach key milestones in the foreseeable future: Continue reading

No Heartbreak, No Heart Failure: This is Valentine’s day!

If one thing is forbidden today, it is a broken heart or heart failure. Both are extremely complex matters. For the first one, I have only pragmatic, personal but successful experience. For the second one, my job gives me the gift of new understanding and knowledge every day, enabling me to imagine the fantastic engineering complexity of the heart. Yet, it is fascinating to analyze the parallels between the two topics. Continue reading

High Cost of Healthcare Calls for New Technologies

healthcare medical devicesThe unacceptably high cost of healthcare calls for new technologies to make medicine more accessible and affordable as well as to face the challenges of an aging population. However, the overarching tenet remains patient safety, and government regulations ensure that medical products and treatments will do no harm despite the large human variability. But at what price? The years-long R&D and approval cycle drives up medical costs. The good news is that the industry benefits significantly from global rapid technology innovation, leveraging high-tech advances from miniaturization to wireless to intelligent software. Continue reading

Simulating Smart Medical Implants for the Medical IoT

Digital health technology is taking the healthcare industry by storm and is expected to reach $233.3 billion by 2020, driven particularly by the mobile health market. Connected medical devices and associated services offer safer and more effective healthcare through real-time monitoring of patient adherence, disease state, and procedure recovery. Examples include pill bottles that remind patients when it’s time to take a medication, watches that monitor heart rate and automated insulin pumps that monitor and respond to blood glucose levels. Each of these rely on the premise that early detection of an emerging problem enables a preemptive treatment response, maximizing the chances of successful treatment in the most cost-effective way.   Continue reading