In recent years, interest is growing on compact measures for assessing the role of local hemodynamics in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and atherogenesis. CFD and its power in evaluating and predicting the effect of some hemodynamic variables in vascular disease is becoming a key factor in clinical research. Recently, Lee and Steinman [1] assessed the importance of blood rheology assumptions to ascertain the effect of constitutive relation for blood on local wall shear stress (WSS) and on the correlated vascular pathology. We present a preliminary in silico investigation on the sensitivity of helical flow measure with respect to the blood constitutive adopted model. Our main objective was to verify if, through the carotid bifurcation model, the rheological properties of blood significantly influence the bulk flow topology, whose evolution and stability are strictly linked to helicity. In fact helicity — an invariant in fluid dynamics — has been demonstrated to describe and reveal the global organization in a fluid flow. For this purpose several blood models (Newtonian and non-Newtonian) were implemented. A specific Lagrangian-based “bulk” flow descriptor, the Helical Flow Index (HFI) [2], was calculated in order to get a “measure” of the helical structure in the blood flow. Therefore, its sensitivity to blood rheology and hematocrit (Ht) was assessed and compared with the sensitivity of WSS based on other fluid dynamics descriptors (Time Averaged WSS, TAWSS, and Oscillating Shear Index, OSI).

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