Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models have become very effective tools for predicting the flow field within the carotid bifurcation, and for understanding the relationship between local hemodynamics, and the initiation and progression of vascular wall pathologies. As prescribing proper boundary conditions can affect the solutions of the equations governing blood flow, in this study, we investigated the influence to assumptions regarding the outflow boundary conditions in an image-based CFD model of human carotid bifurcation. Four simulations were conducted with identical geometry, inlet flow rate, and fluid parameters. In the first case, a physiological time-varying flow rate partition at branches along the cardiac cycle was obtained by coupling the 3D model of the carotid bifurcation at outlets with a lumped-parameter model of the downstream vascular network. Results from the coupled model were compared with those obtained by imposing three fixed flow rate divisions (50/50, 60/40, and 70/30) between the two branches of the isolated 3D model of the carotid bifurcation. Three hemodynamic wall parameters were considered as indicators of vascular wall dysfunction. Our findings underscore that the overall effect of the assumptions done in order to simulate blood flow within the carotid bifurcation is mainly in the hot-spot modulation of the hemodynamic descriptors of atherosusceptible areas, rather than in their distribution. In particular, the more physiological, time-varying flow rate division deriving from the coupled simulation has the effect of damping wall shear stress (WSS) oscillations (differences among the coupled and the three fixed flow partition models are up to 37.3% for the oscillating shear index). In conclusion, we recommend to adopt more realistic constraints, for example, by coupling models at different scales, as in this study, when the objective is the outcome prediction of alternate therapeutic interventions for individual patients, or to test hypotheses related to the role of local fluid dynamics and other biomechanical factors in vascular diseases.
Outflow Conditions for Image-Based Hemodynamic Models of the Carotid Bifurcation: Implications for Indicators of Abnormal Flow
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Morbiducci, U., Gallo, D., Massai, D., Consolo, F., Ponzini, R., Antiga, L., Bignardi, C., Deriu, M. A., and Redaelli, A. (August 17, 2010). "Outflow Conditions for Image-Based Hemodynamic Models of the Carotid Bifurcation: Implications for Indicators of Abnormal Flow." ASME. J Biomech Eng. September 2010; 132(9): 091005. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4001886
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