Calculations of pulsatile flow through a branch: implications for the hemodynamics of atherogenesis.
Numerical simulations of pulsatile blood flow through a symmetrical branch modeling the aortic bifurcation were carried out to assess several hemodynamic theories of atherogenesis by comparing the distribution of hemodynamic variables with that of early lesions in arterial branches. Considerable spatial and temporal variations in wall shear were found when the flow was pulsatile; the highest values occurred at the convex corner on the outer wall of the branch and in the neighborhood of the flow divider tip, and the lowest shears were experienced by the outer wall of the daughter vessel a short distance distal to the corner. Transient flow reversal occurred almost everywhere in the branch, and a transient separated region was found corresponding to the low-shear region in the daughter vessel. The shear profiles and the calculated separated region were influenced to some degree by the extent of flow development at the branch inlet and markedly by the branch area ratio. All of the proposed hemodynamic promoters of atherosclerosis that were examined--high shear, low shear, and separation--were found at sites in the branch where lesions commonly develop. Comparisons with a steady-flow calculation at the same mean flow rate showed that the severity of all of these proposed hemodynamic determinants was increased by pulsatility.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association