The aorta is the main blood vessel channelling blood from the heart to all organs of the body. Under certain circumstances the aorta can split longitudinally resulting in a double-barrelled aorta, called an aortic dissection. This is a life threatening emergency requiring immediate medical management and in some cases stenting or surgery. The management in the acute (12 weeks) phases depends in part on the nature and behaviour of the ‘flap ‘that separates the two lumens of the double-barrelled aorta (true lumen and false lumen). Very little information exists on the biochemical, histological and mechanical changes that occur within the aortic flap from acute dissection to a stable chronic state. Anecdotal clinical experience based on CT and MRI imaging suggests the process is highly variable between patients. Understanding this and predicting the behaviour of the aortic dissection flap in a patient specific way will influence treatment strategies.
In this project, the properties of the dissection flap will be predicted with use of a multi-facted approach including by examining aortic stiffness and distensibility using ultrasound methods along with CT-based computational fluid dynamics and MRI-based 4D flow measurements.
The PhD study will involve inter-disciplinary training in novel research methods including related to biomechanics, imaging methods and statistics.
The PhD project will be suitable for those with a strong background in biomedical engineering, biophysics, medical imaging or a related background. A Bachelors degree equivalent to a UK 2i (Second Class Upper Division) classification will be required as a minimum.