Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Scholarship: CFD study of novel fistula health monitoring for dialysis patients

School of Engineering, Mathematics Institute and Warwick Medical School

Supervisors: Dr Yongmann Chung, Dr Bjorn Stinner, Professor Charles Hutchinson (WMS)

Start date: 09 January 2023

Duration: 3.5 years

The project:

Title: CFD study of novel fistula health monitoring for dialysis patients

To administer dialysis, arteriovenous (AV) fistulae are made as a passage through which blood can flow out to be filtered, and clean blood can be passed back to the patients. With an average lifespan of 5 years, ultimately, all AV fistulae will fail. This can cause disruption to dialysis and requires an operation to create a new AV fistula. These can cause anxiety and physical and mental stress on the dialysis patient. This project aims to develop a new health monitoring system involving ultrasound imaging of AV fistula to ensure they are still functioning optimally. This ultrasound scan will be done on dialysis patients in Royal Berkshire Hospital during their regular dialysis visits. In addition to ultrasound scanning, we will create a 3D fistula imaging model for each patient to better understand the dynamics of blood flow in the AV fistula. This research will help detect signs of fistula failure before it happens so that early interventions can be made to prolong fistula function. This can significantly ease the physical and emotional burden on dialysis patients and improve the outcome of fistula dialysis.

Dr Yongmann Chung and his interdisciplinary team (Dr Bjorn Stinner at Mathematics, Professor Charles Hutchinson at Warwick Medical School and Dr Farhan Ahmed at Royal Berkshire Hospital) propose a new fistula monitoring process using ultrasound scanning. This research is a collaboration between University of Warwick and Royal Berkshire Hospital (Dr Farhan Ahmed). Working with dialysis patients at Royal Berkshire Hospital, we will use an ultrasound machine to scan dialysis patient's fistulae during their regular hospital visits. The use of ultrasound scanning is safe, cost effective and has low risk in relation to the frequency to which scans will be done. Based on ultrasound imaging, we will use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to better understand the dynamics of the way blood flows in the AV fistula. Through ultrasound scanning, a 3D fistula imaging model for each individual patient will be created and used for CFD study. This is hoped to help to explain the potential success or failure of fistula function and show early signs of fistula failure. Previous research in collaboration with Royal Berkshire Hospital has shown that ultrasound imaging is suitable for use in CFD models, but areas of improvement were identified which will be addressed in this new study to monitor AV fistula health.


This project is sponsored by Kidney Research UK and you will join an interdisciplinary team with academics from Engineering, Mathematics and Medical School. We will collaborate with radiologists at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

For further information, please email Y.M.Chung@warwick.ac.uk

Eligibility:

Candidates must have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree in Engineering. Prior experience with CFD, machine learning, and medical imaging will be particularly useful but not essential.

Funding:

The award will cover tuition fees at the UK fee level, plus a tax-free stipend of £16,062 per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study. International students are welcome to apply but must meet the fee difference themselves.

How to apply:

Candidates should submit an expression of interest by sending a CV and supporting statement outlining their skills and interests in this research area to www.warwick.ac.uk/engpgr/ymc1/appcv/. If this initial application is successful, we will invite you to make a formal application for study. All candidates must fulfil the University of Warwick entry criteria and obtain an unconditional offer before commencing enrolment.


The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.