The inflow opening and outflow opening of the heart are located next to each other and connected by a U-shaped cardiac chamber. Blood travelling from inflow to outflow will swirl within the chamber and form a rotational body of fluid known as a vortex.
Analysis of the blood flow can reveal unstable conditions that can lead to progressive changes in cardiac size and shape – known as cardiac remodelling - and future risk of heart failure.
Cardiac remodeling is common after preterm birth, but the precise mechanisms behind the development of an abnormal cardiac size and shape are unknown. Our study will explore the association between intracardiac blood flow patterns and cardiac remodeling after preterm birth. We believe that vortices play an important role in the development of the heart, and could be used as a measure of overall cardiac health and long term outcomes in preterm infants.