Company

  • A spinoff from Ghent University founded by two Ph.D.'s
  • Extensive experience in advanced cardio- and endovascular device-and-procedure modeling
  • Collaborates with academic researchers and clinicians worldwide

Challenge

  • FEops needs advanced computational modeling tools to help their customers improve the design, safety and efficacy of medical devices tailored to individual patients in need of heart-valve replacement.

Solution

  • FEops employs Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA’s Abaqus FEA software, along with proprietary tools, to gain detailed insight into the heart-valve replacement devices with specific patient anatomies, pre-operatively.

Benefits

  • Dassault Systèmes software has proven highly capable of accurately simulating the methods and complexities of heart-disease treatment.
  • FEops can explore the application of their technologies to a wide range of heart-related fields, getting devices to market faster and helping patients everywhere.

Innovating to Improve Outcomes in Heart Valve Replacement

FEops uses simulation solutions from Dassault Systèmes to help clinicians and medical-device manufacturers customize patient treatment

More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart-valve disease each year, according to the American Heart Association (AHA); Europe and other industrialized countries share similar statistics, with the prevalence of valvular heart disease estimated at 2.5% overall. Those numbers are anticipated to rise around the globe as populations continue to expand and age, and risk factors (diabetes, poor health habits, viruses and bacteria that can damage the heart) all continue to take a toll.

AN ALTERNATIVE TO OPEN-HEART SURGERY

AHA’s “2018 Update” on heart disease notes that the number of elderly patients with aortic stenosis is projected to more than double by 2050 in both the United States and Europe. One study (Icelandic AGES-Reykjavik) projects a tripling of that number by 2060. Replacing diseased aortic valves has become a “routine” treatment for patients, either through open-heart surgery or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). There tend to be fewer complications overall with TAVI than with open heart procedures, but problems can still arise: stroke from calcium loosened during the procedure, restricted blood flow, leakage when the new implant doesn’t seal completely, or electrical conduction problems requiring a pacemaker. Innovative researchers have focused on mitigating these types of roadblocks to full patient recovery, making breakthrough progress with realistic simulation.  
We have decades of experience using Abaqus specifically for minimally invasive cardiovascular and endovascular devices,” he says. “Abaqus can accurately simulate the complexities of the TAVI procedure and products, which allows us to be very confident in the results.
Matthieu De Beule, Ph.D.
co-founder and CEO, FEops
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Modeling the Challenges of Valve Replacement

FEops HEARTguide™ technology uses advanced computational modeling to provide clinicians and valve manufacturers with insights into the interaction between valve and specific patient anatomy. The first solution of its kind, FEops HEARTguide surpasses simple anatomical measurement, generating patient-specific predictions of how devices will deform after implantation. This end-to-end solution adds value at every step in the structural heart device product life cycle, helping manufacturers accelerate time to market and bringing physicians insights that contribute to better patient outcome.

TAVIguide™ technology starts with pre-operative images, gathered from an individual’s CT scans. The structural geometry of the scans is extracted and used to create digital 3D anatomically correct finite element models of a patient’s aortic root. FEops employs Abaqus finite element analysis (FEA) software from Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA, along with proprietary software, to customize each model. “The technology allows the study of different virtual procedural alternatives, which helps clinicians become optimally informed before performing the real procedure,” says De Beule. Manufacturers can also benefit from FEops technology, De Beule says. “We’re empowering manufacturers of medical devices to get their products to market faster, which ultimately helps patients everywhere.”

SIMULATION AS KEY TO INNOVATION

With simulation you can gather so much more accurate information than using strictly simplified bench tests,” says De Beule. “Now you can gain a greater insight in how these devices are deployed into an individual’s anatomy, even before manufacturing one or more physical prototypes. The simulations can then predict the behavior of replacement valves during transcatheter delivery, implantation and even after new valve function begins in a patient’s body.”

As they’ve continued to refine their FEops HEARTguide technology, FEops is seeing advancements in software and computational resources that empower them to innovate further. “In the past three years we’ve come down from days to hours to run a simulation,” says De Beule. “I think software innovation will allow us to get close to real time in a couple more years.”

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