Three-dimensional scaled-up transparent models of three human cystic ducts were prepared on the basis of anatomical specimens. The measurement of pressure drop across the cystic duct models and visualization of the flow structures within these ducts were performed at conditions replicating the physiological state. The flow visualization study confirmed the laminar nature of the flow of bile inside the cystic duct and values of pressure drop coefficient (Cp) decreased as the Reynolds number (Re) increased. The three tested models showed comparable behavior for the curve of Reynolds number versus the pressure drop coefficient. The results show that the tested cystic ducts have both increased pressure drop and complicated flow structures when compared with straight conduits. High resistance in a cystic duct may indicate that the gallbladder has to exert large force in expelling bile to the cystic duct. For patients with diseased gallbladder, and even in healthy persons, gallbladder is known to stiffen with age and it may lose its compliance or flexibility. A high resistance cystic duct coupled with a stiffened gallbladder may result in prolonged stasis of bile in the gallbladder, which is assumed to encourage the formation of gallstones.

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