To study the flow behavior in regions where hemodynamic effects have been suggested to participate in atherogenesis, we evaluated flow in a mold of the aorta and renal arteries of a previously healthy 27-year-old woman who died of trauma. A birefringent solution (vanadium-pentoxide) was used. When diluted, this material behaves like a Newtonian fluid. This method gives a complete picture of the entire flow field. Zones of flow separation and disturbed flow can be seen and the location and size of disturbed areas observed. Unseparated flow regions downstream from disturbed zones can be properly visualized and the method can be used for pulsatile flow as well as steady flow. During steady flow (only at branch to-trunk flow ratios > 0.20), zones of flow separation were observed in the aorta distal to the renal arteries. During pulsatile flow, disturbances were found at nearly all branch-to-trunk flow ratios.

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