Atherosclerosis, a disease of the large and medium arteries, is the leading cause of death in Western countries. Fluid dynamic and mass transfer phenomena are thought to play a role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis [1–3]. Atherosclerotic lesions are known to localize to areas such as bifurcations and curved arterial segments where shear stress and mass transfer patterns differ from those in straight arteries. However, the precise roles of wall shear stress and mass transfer in the localization of atherosclerotic lesions are not known, and this remains an active area of research. Determining the separate roles of wall shear stress and mass transfer in atherosclerosis is made more difficult because areas of abnormal wall shear stress often co-localize with areas of abnormal mass transfer.

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