Research has been conducted by the authors with the objective to produce a computational model that will clearly display the coupled nature of the hemodynamics/fluid mechanics of blood flow and atherosclerotic plaque growth in the human carotid artery. The motivation for this investigation is the serious nature of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease, which occurs in medium and large size arteries. Among the many effects stemming from the disease are heart attack, stroke, ischemia, and peripheral vascular disease. In healthy arteries, the collagen and elastin allow the artery to expand and contract with blood flow. This function enables the artery to maintain constant wall shear stress [1]. Plaque existence in the arterial wall results in decreased ductility of the wall, which inhibits the wall from maintaining constant shear stress. Plaque formations along the arterial wall then protrude into the artery, disturbing the blood flow. Characteristics of the fluid flow in the artery are also altered due to the presence of a plaque. Areas of low shear stress and recirculation move downstream from the plaque. These disturbances act not only to further the plaque formation at the site, but also to make the wall around the plaque formation more prone to lesions that could lead to new plaque initiation. Complex characteristics of the blood flow give areas of an artery such as bends and bifurcations a predisposition for the disease, whereas plaques affect blood flow, creating flow patterns that promote new plaque initiation. This interdependency makes atherosclerosis a very serious disease and one which is of great importance in research.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.