Various hemodynamic factors have been implicated in vascular graft intimal hyperplasia, the major mechanism contributing to chronic failure of small-diameter grafts. However, a thorough knowledge of the graft flow field is needed in order to determine the role of hemodynamics and how these factors affect the underlying biological processes. Computational fluid dynamics offers much more versatility and resolution than in vitro or in vivo methods, yet computations must be validated by careful comparison with experimental data. Whereas numerous numerical and in vitro simulations of arterial geometries have been reported, direct point-by-point comparisons of the two techniques are rare in the literature. We have conducted finite element computational analyses for a model of an end-to-side vascular graft and compared the results with experimental data obtained using laser-Doppler velocimetry. Agreement for velocity profiles is found to be good, with some clear differences near the recirculation zones during the deceleration and reverse-flow segments of the flow waveform. Wall shear stresses are determined from velocity gradients, whether by computational or experimental methods, and hence the agreement for this quantity, while still good, is less consistent than for velocity itself. From the wall shear stress numerical results, we computed four variables that have been cited in the development of intimal hyperplasia—the time-averaged wall shear stress, an oscillating shear index, and spatial and temporal wall shear stress gradients—in order to illustrate the versatility of numerical methods. We conclude that the computational approach is a valid alternative to the experimental approach for quantitative hemodynamic studies. Where differences in velocity were found by the two methods, it was generally attributed to the inability of the numerical method to model the fluid dynamics when flow conditions are destabilizing. Differences in wall shear, in the absence of destabilizing phenomena, were more likely to be caused by difficulties in calculating wall shear from relatively low resolution in vitro data.
Pulsatile Flow in an End-to-Side Vascular Graft Model: Comparison of Computations With Experimental Data
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division January 27, 1999; revised manuscript received September 29, 2000. Associate Editor: S. E. Rittgers.
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Lei, M., Giddens, D. P., Jones, S. A., Loth, F., and Bassiouny, H. (September 29, 2000). "Pulsatile Flow in an End-to-Side Vascular Graft Model: Comparison of Computations With Experimental Data ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. February 2001; 123(1): 80–87. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1336145
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