Department of Biomedical Engineering
Normal hemodynamic forces associated with blood flow are essential for proper cardiac development, as abnormal blood flow conditions trigger detrimental cardiac growth and remodeling that eventually result in heart defects seen in congenital heart disease. Although it is clear that hemodynamics play an important role in heart morphogenesis, the ways in which perturbed blood flow dynamics in the early embryo lead to later cardiovascular malformation remain unclear. The work presented in this dissertation uses novel combinations of imaging techniques and analysis methods to precisely characterize the effects of abnormal hemodynamics on cardiac development. Specifically, this dissertation uses a chicken embryo model to characterize the dynamic blood flow patterns in the early embryonic heart, define the range of altered hemodynamics induced by surgical interventions, elucidate the effects of abnormal hemodynamics on cellular remodeling of primitive heart tissue, and determine the extent to which the mechanical stimuli produced by altered blood flow in early development predict distinct cardiac defect phenotypes. Overall, this research more definitively than ever before demonstrates that embryonic cardiac malformation is finely regulated by the hemodynamic environment. These findings emphasize the importance of early diagnostic imaging of embryonic circulation to help guide future pregnancy management decisions to possibly revert or prevent cardiac malformation.
School of Medicine
Midgett, Madeline, "Blood Flow Modulation of Embryonic Cardiac Remodeling and Malformation" (2016). Scholar Archive. 3843.