Despite the important advancements in the stent technology for the treatment of diseased coronary arteries, major complications still affect the post-operative long-term outcome. The stent-induced flow disturbances, and especially the altered wall shear stress (WSS) profile at the strut level, play an important role in the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to stent thrombosis (ST) and in-stent restenosis (ISR). In this context, the analysis of the WSS topological skeleton is gaining more and more interest by extending the current understanding of the association between local hemodynamics and vascular diseases. The present study aims to analyze the impact that a deployed coronary stent has on the WSS topological skeleton. Computational fluid dynamics simulations were performed in three stented human coronary artery geometries reconstructed from clinical images. The selected cases presented stents with different designs (i.e., two contemporary drug eluting stents and one bioresorbable scaffold) and included regions with stent malapposition or overlapping. A recently proposed Eulerian-based approach was applied to analyze the WSS topological skeleton features. The results highlighted that the presence of single or multiple stents within a coronary artery markedly impacts the WSS topological skeleton. In particular, repetitive patterns of WSS divergence were observed at the luminal surface, highlighting a WSS contraction action proximal to the struts and a WSS expansion action distal to the struts. This WSS action pattern was independent from the stent design. In conclusions, these findings could contribute to a deeper understanding of the hemodynamic-driven processes underlying ST and ISR.

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