Despite the fact that deaths from heart and blood vessel disease have been declining since 1968, these diseases still account for over 50 percent of the deaths in the United States each year. Atherosclerosis is a major form of arterial disease, and its genesis, proliferation and detection are complex and unsolved problems. Although exact mechanisms for lipid accumulation in the arterial wall are not fully established, the tendency for plaques to occur at preferred sites in the vasculature has stimulated the hypothesis that fluid mechanical factors play a causative role in atherogenesis and may, additionally, be involved in proliferation of early lesions. The passage of blood components into the initima and media, accretion of fibrin and other circulating cellular elements on the intimal surface, the rate of proliferation of intimai cells, and the extent of accumulation of fibrous elements within the subendothelial region may all be dependent, to some extent, on hemodynamic factors. Furthermore, as early disease progresses towards advanced obstruction, plaque encroachment upon the vessel lumen can create localized flow disturbances long before a hemodynamically significant stenosis is present. For these reasons the role of fluid mechanics in the genesis, proliferation and detection of atherosclerosis has received increasing attention.
KeywordsReynolds Number Wall Shear Stress Steady Flow Secondary Flow Pulsatile Flow
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