Recent clinical studies have reinvigorated the search for purported “geometric risk factors” for atherosclerosis [1,2], due in part to the finding of wide interindividual variations in carotid bifurcation geometry. We have shown, however, that, relative to those study groups, the carotid bifurcations of young adults exhibit significantly less geometric variability [3,4]. In fact, these variations approached the threshold of reproducibility in the image-derived measurements themselves, from which we concluded that, if there is such a thing as geometric risk for atherosclerosis, its early detection might prove challenging. This, however, presupposed that interindividual variations in the local hemodynamics of young adult carotid bifurcations would be similarly modest. The purpose of this study was to test that implicit assumption.

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