Estimation of the flow resistances exerted in coronary arteries using a vessel length-based method


Flow resistances exerted in the coronary arteries are the key parameters for the image-based computer simulation of coronary hemodynamics. The resistances depend on the anatomical characteristics of the coronary system. A simple and reliable estimation of the resistances is a compulsory procedure to compute the fractional flow reserve (FFR) of stenosed coronary arteries, an important clinical index of coronary artery disease. The cardiac muscle volume reconstructed from computed tomography (CT) images has been used to assess the resistance of the feeding coronary artery (muscle volume-based method). In this study, we estimate the flow resistances exerted in coronary arteries by using a novel method. Based on a physiological observation that longer coronary arteries have more daughter branches feeding a larger mass of cardiac muscle, the method measures the vessel lengths from coronary angiogram or CT images (vessel length-based method) and predicts the coronary flow resistances. The underlying equations are derived from the physiological relation among flow rate, resistance, and vessel length. To validate the present estimation method, we calculate the coronary flow division over coronary major arteries for 50 patients using the vessel length-based method as well as the muscle volume-based one. These results are compared with the direct measurements in a clinical study. Further proving the usefulness of the present method, we compute the coronary FFR from the images of optical coherence tomography.

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This research was supported by the R&D program of MSIP/COMPA (2015K000245, Development of high-level simulation model of stenosed coronary artery) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants (NRF-2015R1A2A1A0100774).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eun Bo Shim.

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All the human data used in this study were from Ulsan University Hospital, and their use was approved by the IRB of the institution

Competing interests

The authors declared that they have no competing interests.

Additional information

Kyung Eun Lee and Soon-Sung Kwon contributed equally to this work.

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Lee, K.E., Kwon, SS., Ji, Y.C. et al. Estimation of the flow resistances exerted in coronary arteries using a vessel length-based method. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol 468, 1449–1458 (2016).

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  • Estimation of coronary resistances
  • Vessel length-based method
  • Coronary fractional flow reserve