SimVascular: An open source pipeline for cardiovascular modeling and blood flow simulation


Fri Aug 15, 2014


Alison Marsden
UC San Diego


Data Sharing




SimVascular is currently the only comprehensive software package that provides a complete pipeline from medical image data segmentation to patient specfic blood flow simulation and analysis. This software and its derivatives have been used in hundreds of conference abstracts and peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as the foundation of medical startups. SimVascular was initially released as "open source" code in 2007, yet major challenges and deterrents for new adopters were the requirement of licensing three expensive commercial libraries utilized by the software, a complicated build process, and a lack of documentation, support and organized maintenance. In the past year, the SimVascular team has made significant progress to integrate open source alternatives for the linear solver, solid modeling, and mesh generation commercial libraries required by the original public release. In addition, the build system, available distributions, and graphical user interface have been significantly enhanced. Finally, the software has been updated to enable users to directly run simulations using models and boundary condition values included in the Vascular Model Repository ( In this presentation we will briefly overview the capabilities of the new SimVascular 2.0 release.



Alison Marsden is currently an associate professor and Jacobs Faculty Fellow in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California San Diego. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 1998, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 2005 working with Prof. Parviz Moin. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in Bioengineering and Pediatric Cardiology from 2005-07 working with Charles Taylor and Jeffrey Feinstein. She was the recipient of an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship, an AHA beginning grant in aid award, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, an NSF CAREER award, and is a member of an international Leducq Foundation Network of Excellence. She has published 60 peer reviewed journal papers, and her lab has received funding from the NSF, NIH, and several private foundations. Her work focuses on the development of numerical methods for simulation of cardiovascular blood flow problems, medical device design, application of optimization to large-scale fluid mechanics simulations, and use of engineering tools to impact patient care in cardiovascular surgery and congenital heart disease.


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