Abstract

Pulse wave imaging (PWI) is an ultrasound-based method that allows spatiotemporal mapping of the arterial pulse wave propagation, from which the local pulse wave velocity (PWV) can be derived. Recent reports indicate that PWI can help the assessment of atherosclerotic plaque composition and mechanical properties. However, the effect of the atherosclerotic plaque's geometry and mechanics on the arterial wall distension and local PWV remains unclear. In this study we investigated the accuracy of a finite element (FE) fluid-structure interaction (FSI) approach to predict the velocity of a pulse wave propagating through a stenotic artery with an asymmetrical plaque, as quantified with PWI method. Experiments were designed to compare FE-FSI modeling of the pulse wave propagation through a stenotic artery against PWI obtained with manufactured phantom arteries made of PVA material. FSI-generated spatiotemporal maps were used to estimate PWV at the plaque region and compare it to the experimental results. Velocity of the pulse wave propagation and magnitude of the wall distension were correctly predicted with the FE analysis. In addition, findings indicate that a plaque with a high degree of stenosis (>70%) attenuates the propagation of the pulse pressure wave. Results of this study support the validity of the FE-FSI methods to investigate the effect of arterial wall structural and mechanical properties on the pulse wave propagation. This modeling method can help to guide the optimization of PWI to characterize plaque properties and substantiate clinical findings.

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