The focal occurrence of atherosclerotic lesions around branching points and in curved vessels has led to the hypothesis that haemodynamics plays an important role in the development of the disease. The spatial distribution of atherosclerosis is also age-dependent in humans and rabbits [1]; detailed maps of disease prevalence in aortas of immature and mature rabbits were presented recently [2]. Vincent et al. [3] applied computational fluid dynamics to study blood flow in the aorta of a mature rabbit, but they did not investigate age-dependent effects. The purpose of the present study was to quantify differences in aortic haemodynamics between immature and mature rabbits, and to compare averaged distributions of the flow-related wall shear stress with maps of disease prevalence. As blood flow is heavily dependent on vessel geometry, the shapes of the aorta in the two age groups were also compared.

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