The carotid artery bifurcation is prone to the development of atherosclerotic plaques, and is a site where the consequences of this development can be severe. The most immediate effects are changes in lumenal cross-section, volumetric blood flow, and forces on the wall. The end result may be plaque rupture, possibly resulting in a stroke. Plaque development, and plaque rupture, are likely both strongly influenced by the changes of the shear stress, and possibly normal stress, at the artery wall [1]. Numerical simulations of the flow in the carotid bifurcation can elucidate the influence of the flow on the plaque and vice versa. The irregular geometries of severely stenotic vessels make numerical modeling of these flows particularly challenging [2, 3]. We describe simulations in fully three-dimensional, realistic geometries under steady and pulsatile flow conditions.

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