Charles A. Taylor, Ph.D.

Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Heartflow, Inc.

HPC at HeartFlow, Inc., - Patient-specific Computational Fluid Dynamics for Noninvasive Assessment of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. Each year in the U.S. more than 6 million patients go to the Emergency room and there are 9 million physician's office visits for patients with symptoms of heart disease. Restrictions in the coronary arteries resulting from atherosclerosis are the principal cause of heart disease. The severity of these restrictions and their effect on blood flow to the heart are difficult to measure, yet this information is critical for treating patients. Currently, only invasive diagnostic cardiac catheterization can provide critical flow information through coronary arteries, but this procedure is expensive and poses risk to the patient. A recent breakthrough in imaging technologies with CT scanners and software from HeartFlow, Inc is enabling an inexpensive and far safer diagnostic tool to emerge. Broad application of CT Scans and HeartFlow software could potentially reduce annual health care costs nationally by over 10 billion dollars and save thousands of lives each year. Based on over 15 years of research, HeartFlow is able to analyze a patient's coronary CT scan images and, using high performance computing and computational fluid dynamics, to solve for coronary blood flow and pressure. Initial clinical data has demonstrated significant improvements in diagnostic accuracy as compared to other noninvasive technologies. HeartFlow employs a service model whereby patient data is uploaded through a secure web browser, processed on-site using custom software and HPC platforms and transmitted back to the ordering physician through a secure web browser. This analysis enables the physician to quickly determine the best treatment without invasive diagnostic cardiac catheterization. While HPC requirements for each individual patient simulation are modest, tens of millions of patients could benefit from this technology each year, thereby posing a tremendous opportunity for HPC in health care while leading to improved clinical outcomes and dramatically lower health care costs.


Charles A. Taylor received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1987 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He then joined the Engineering Physics Laboratory at GE Research & Development Center in Schenectady, New York. He received his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1991 and his M.S. Degree in Mathematics in 1992 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He entered the Ph.D. program in the Division of Applied Mechanics at Stanford in 1992 and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1996 under the direction of Thomas J.R. Hughes, Ph.D. and Christopher K. Zarins, M.D. for his work on finite element modeling of blood flow. Dr. Taylor joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1997 and developed an internationally recognized research program in the departments of bioengineering and surgery focused on the development of computer modeling and imaging techniques for cardiovascular disease research, device design and surgery planning. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers and has 12 issued or pending patents. Dr. Taylor co-founded HeartFlow, Inc. with Dr. Zarins in 2007 and left Stanford in August of 2011 to serve as HeartFlow's Chief Technology Officer, where he leads the R&D and Engineering efforts.

Workshop Program
updated: 2011-10-19