Finite element simulation of cooling of realistic 3-D human head and neck

Brian H. Dennis, Robert C. Eberhart, George S. Dulikravich, Steve W. Radons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Rapid cooling of the brain in the first minutes following the onset of cerebral ischemia is a potentially attractive preservation method. This computer modeling study was undertaken to examine brain-cooling profiles in response to various external cooling methods and protocols, in order to guide the development of clinical cooling devices. The criterion of successful cooling is the attainment of a 33.0 °C average brain temperature within 30 minutes of treatment. Comparison of the finite element model results with a formal mathematical solution, give confidence that the simulation methods are sound. The cooling simulations considered to date all indicate that no one means of external cooling of the head or neck is sufficient to cool the brain in a reasonable period of time (30 minutes). Neither ice packs applied to head or neck, or cooling helmets can satisfy the 33.0 °C target temperature specification. This central conclusion of insubstantial cooling is supported by the modest enhancements reported in experimental investigations of externally applied cooling. The key problem is overcoming the protective effect of warm blood perfusion, which reaches the brain via the uncooled carotid arterial supply and effectively blocks the external cooling wave from advancing to the core of the brain. This suggests that other cooling means should be explored requiring a realistic simulation of cooling of other pertinent parts of the human anatomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Heat Transfer Division, (Publication) HTD
EditorsY. Bayazitoglu, J. Bischof, L. Xu, E. Scott
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2002
Event2002 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - New orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Nov 17 2002Nov 22 2002


Other2002 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew orleans, LA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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