Patterns of Flow in the Left Coronary Artery

[+] Author and Article Information
H. N. Sabbah, P. D. Stein

Cardiovascular Research, Departments of Medicine (Division of Cardiovascular Medicine) and Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich. 48202

F. J. Walburn

Research Division, Miami Heart Institute, Miami Beach, Fla. 33140

J Biomech Eng 106(3), 272-279 (Aug 01, 1984) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138493 History: Received August 11, 1983; Revised February 22, 1984; Online June 15, 2009


The purpose of this investigation is to describe our preliminary observations of the overall pattern of flow in a mold of the left coronary artery of a pig. Flow in the coronary mold was visualized by the injection of dye into the sinus of Valsalva. Studies were performed during steady flow at rates of 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 mL/min. Studies were also performed during pulsatile flow, using a pulse duplicator that simulated the magnitude and phasic pattern of coronary flow at rest and during reactive hyperemia. At conditions that simulated rest, mean coronary flow was adjusted to 121 mL/min of which 24 mL/min (20 percent) was systolic. During simulated reactive hyperemia, mean flow was 440 mL/min. Visualization of flow revealed the absence of disturbances of turbulence during both steady and pulsatile flow in the left anterior descending (LAD) and left circumflex (CIRC) coronary arteries throughout the entire range of flow studied. Prominent spiraling of flow occurred during steady and pulsatile flow. Spiraling of flow was not observed in the LAD at rest during pulsatile flow, but developed during simulated reactive hyperemia. Helical flows were observed in the CIRC both during simulated rest and reactive hyperemia. These observations suggest that helical flows may be characteristic features of flow in the left coronary artery; whereas turbulence may not be a feature of this flow field. Whether the spiraling of flow that we observed relates to the spiral distribution of early atheroma reported by others, is undetermined.

Copyright © 1984 by ASME
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