Fluid Mechanics of Arterial Bifurcations
The arterial system carries out its function of distributing blood throughout the body by means of a remarkable network characterized by vessel branching and bifurcation, and fluid dynamic patterns at these sites of flow division can be extremely complex by comparison with flow in unbranching vessel segments. In certain larger and medium-sized arteries, such as the carotid, coronary and aorto-iliac arteries, these sites of branching and bifurcation are associated with the development of atherosclerotic plaques, and hemodynamic factors such as wall shear stress and particle residence time have been implicated as participants in atherogenesis. The complex flow fields which exist in the region of arterial bifurcations are characterized by strong spatial and temporal variations in wall shear and particle trajectory, creating environments considerably different than those found in simple in vitro systems, such as Couette or channel flow, that are often employed in the study of fluid dynamic effects on cell function. Understanding the interactions between blood flow and biological behavior of cells in the arterial wall will undoubtedly require a greater knowledge of the response of cells to flow field phenomena that are representative of those occurring in actual arterial bifurcations.
KeywordsWall Shear Stress Left Anterior Descend Pulsatile Flow Carotid Bifurcation Leave Main
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