Aortic dissection is the most common acute catastrophic event affecting the thoracic aorta. The majority of patients presenting with an uncomplicated type B dissection are treated medically, but 25% of these patients develop subsequent aneurysmal dilatation of the thoracic aorta. This study aimed at gaining more detailed knowledge of the flow phenomena associated with this condition. Morphological features and flow patterns in a dissected aortic segment of a presurgery type B dissection patient were analyzed based on computed tomography images acquired from the patient. Computational simulations of blood flow in the patient-specific model were performed by employing a correlation-based transitional version of Menter’s hybrid k-ε/k-ω shear stress transport turbulence model implemented in ANSYS CFX 11. Our results show that the dissected aorta is dominated by locally highly disturbed, and possibly turbulent, flow with strong recirculation. A significant proportion (about 80%) of the aortic flow enters the false lumen, which may further increase the dilatation of the aorta. High values of wall shear stress have been found around the tear on the true lumen wall, perhaps increasing the likelihood of expanding the tear. Turbulence intensity in the tear region reaches a maximum of 70% at midsystolic deceleration phase. Incorporating the non-Newtonian behavior of blood into the same transitional flow model has yielded a slightly lower peak wall shear stress and higher maximum turbulence intensity without causing discernible changes to the distribution patterns. Comparisons between the laminar and turbulent flow simulations show a qualitatively similar distribution of wall shear stress but a significantly higher magnitude with the transitional turbulence model.

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