Heart attack and stroke are the chief and the 3rd largest causes of death in the United States, respectively. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to an area of heart muscle is blocked, usually by a clot in a coronary artery; a stroke occurs when the blood supply to a region of the brain is lost. The most frequent cause of loss of blood supply to brain tissue or to heart muscle is atherosclerosis, which involves complex interactions between the artery wall and the blood flow. Caro et al first suggested that the distribution of fatty streaking in human aorta may be coincident with regions in which the shear rate at the arterial wall is locally reduced [1]. After that, intensive research has been conducted to statistically study the role of shear stress in atherosclerosis and to quantitatively determine the correlation between the low shear stress and the development of atherosclerotic plaques [2–8]. It is widely believed that fluid shear stress acting on the artery wall plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The objectives of this project are to investigate how the geometrical adaptation of atherosclerotic plaques is related to the wall shear stress (WSS) and to study the influences of the flow parameters on the growth of the atherosclerotic plaque using computational models.

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