Estimation of the wall shear stress distribution in stenotic carotid arteries is important for assessing risk of stroke. Since there are no reliable experimental methods to determine wall shear stress distributions, realistic patient-specific computational fluid dynamics models are constructed from medical images. Anatomical and physiologic data are obtained from multiple image modalities including 3D rotational angiography, contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography, carotid duplex ultrasound and phase-contrast magnetic resonance. These images are used to construct patient-specific finite element grids and to solve the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations under physiological pulsatile flow conditions. The detailed knowledge of the carotid hemodynamics derived from these models can be used to enhance our understanding of the relationship between flow patterns and symptoms, and ultimately risk of stroke. This methodology can also be used to correllate flow patterns with the outcome of endovascular procedures such as angioplasty and stenting.

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