One of the main factors affecting blood flow conditions in stenotic arteries is plaque geometry. Plaques can be deformed by the internal pressure, and hence plaque behavior varies depending on its stiffness. Blood flow pattern around a plaque is complicated by plaque behavior, and these complications may lead to growth of the plaque itself. Thus, we can say that geometry and mechanical properties of a plaque, and blood flow will affect each other.
To understand the relationship between plaque stiffness and flow pattern, flow measurement using elastic models, which mimic the mechanical properties of blood vessels, is required. Flow patterns with steady flows and a range of hydrostatic pressures were observed by particle image velocimetry. The results show that the model is deformed by hydrostatic pressures. Furthermore, flow patterns are also changed as the results of model deformation, especially at reattachment points. Simultaneously, we performed a numerical simulation for finding a critical parameter of the flow patterns. These results show that the reattachment length increases in the model with high stenosis severity and in a vertically oriented parent artery. In conclusion, a parent artery and plaque can deform because of internal pressure, and these deformation will affect blood flow patterns.