The initiation and progression of vessel wall pathologies have been linked to disturbances of blood flow and altered wall shear stress. The development of computational techniques in fluid dynamics, together with the increasing performances of hardware and software allow to routinely solve problems on a virtual environment, helping to understand the role of biomechanics factors in the healthy and diseased cardiovascular system and to reveal the interplay of biology and local fluid dynamics nearly intractable in the past, opening to detailed investigation of parameters affecting disease progression. One of the major difficulties encountered when wishing to model accurately the cardiovascular system is that the flow dynamics of the blood in a specific vascular district is strictly related to the global systemic dynamics. The multiscale modelling approach for the description of blood flow into vessels consists in coupling a detailed model of the district of interest in the framework of a synthetic description of the surrounding areas of the vascular net [1]. In the present work, we aim at evaluating the effect of boundary conditions on wall shear stress (WSS) related vessel wall indexes and on bulk flow topology inside a carotid bifurcation. To do it, we coupled an image-based 3D model of carotid bifurcation (local computational domain), with a lumped parameters (0D) model (global domain) which allows for physiological mimicking of the haemodynamics at the boundaries of the 3D carotid bifurcation model here investigated. Two WSS based blood-vessel wall interaction descriptors, the Time Averaged WSS (TAWSS), and the Oscillating Shear Index (OSI) were considered. A specific Lagrangian-based “bulk” blood flow descriptor, the Helical Flow Index (HFI) [2], was calculated in order to get a “measure” of the helical structure in the blood flow. In a first analysis the effects of the coupled 0D models on the 3D model are evaluated. The results obtained from the multiscale simulation are compared with the results of simulations performed using the same 3D model, but imposing a flow rate at internal carotid (ICA) outlet section equal to the maximum (60%) and the minimum (50%) flow division obtained out from ICA in the multiscale model simulation (the presence of the coupled 0D model gives variable internal/external flow division ratio during the cardiac cycle), and a stress free condition on the external carotid (ECA).

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