Flow disturbances in tapered arterial grafts of angles of taper between 0.5 and 1.0 deg were measured in vitro using a pulsed ultrasound Doppler velocimeter. The increase in transition Reynolds numbers with angle of taper and axial distance was determined for steady flow. The instantaneous centerline velocities were measured distal to a 50 percent area stenosis (as a model of a proximal anastomosis), in steady and pulsatile flow, from which the disturbance intensities were calculated. A significant reduction in post-stenotic disturbance intensity was recorded in the tapered grafts, relative to a conventional cylindrical graft. In pulsatile flow with a large backflow component, however, there was an increase in disturbance intensity due to diverging flow during flow reversal. This was observed only in the 1.0 deg tapered graft. These findings indicate that taper is an important consideration in the design of vascular prostheses.

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