Harvis: an interactive virtual reality tool for modification and simulation of blood flow

Unmet Need

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the largest underlying cause of mortality in the United States, causing one in every three deaths and costing an estimated $316 billion dollars a year. In recent years, computational models of blood flow that use patient-specific 3D geometries obtained through medical imaging helped researchers and clinicians to improve understanding of CVD progression and aided procedural planning. For example, computation fluid dynamics (CFD) models have been used in the positioning and sizing of stents commonly used to treat certain types of CVD. The process of designing and iterating on vascular simulations requires a set of skills that includes knowledge of software, the ability to manipulate CFD models and their parameters, and the ability to use and analyze blood flow visualization. Current software tools show great promise but because of their complexity, they could be restrictive for efficient and intuitive use by a clinician. Therefore, there is a critical need for more integrative and intuitive software that would allow users to perform hemodynamic simulations without touching the command line or learning 3D modeling technologies.


Duke researchers have developed Harvis, a cardiovascular visualization software with support for both 2D and virtual reality (VR) displays. Harvis provides a GUI interface for HARVEY, a highly parallel CFD solver that performs the vascular simulations, and offers straightforward integration for other flow solvers. When given 3D mesh geometries derived from segmented medical imaging, HARVEY simulations produce maps of parameters (pressure, velocity, and shear stress) associated with the progression and localization of vascular diseases. Harvis streamlines the workflow of configuring, running, and analyzing the results of hemodynamics simulations. For example, users can model the placement of common vascular devices such as conduits and stents and then visualize the flow results in an integrated manner. Harvis supports several common consumer-grade VR devices that have found growing use in scientific visualizations.


  • Enables accessible and streamlined use of scalable hemodynamic simulations by users of all experience levels.
  • A robust tool for virtual vascular modification and flow visualization.
  • Supports both 2D and VR devices.