Wall Shear Rate Distribution in an Abdominal Aortic Bifurcation Model: Effects of Vessel Compliance and Phase Angle Between Pressure and Flow Waveforms

[+] Author and Article Information
C. S. Lee, J. M. Tarbell

Physiological Transport Studies Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

J Biomech Eng 119(3), 333-342 (Aug 01, 1997) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2796098 History: Received August 29, 1995; Revised July 25, 1996; Online October 30, 2007


The goal of this study was to determine how vessel compliance (wall motion) and the phase angle between pressure and flow waves (impedance phase angle) affect the wall shear rate distribution in an atherogenic bifurcation geometry under sinusoidal flow conditions. Both rigid and elastic models replicating the human abdominal aortic bifurcation were fabricated and the wall shear rate distribution in the median plane of the bifurcation was determined using the photochromic flow visualization method. In the elastic model, three phase angle conditions were simulated (+12, −17, −61 deg), and the results compared with those obtained in a similar rigid model. The study indicates a very low (magnitude close to zero) and oscillatory wall shear rate zone within 1.5 cm distal to the curvature site on the outer (lateral) wall. In this low shear rate zone, unsteadiness (pulsatility) of the flow greatly reduces the mean (time-averaged) wall shear rate level. Vessel wall motion reduces the wall shear rate amplitude (time-varying component) up to 46 percent depending on the location and phase angle in the model. The mean wall shear rate is less influenced by the wall motion, but is reduced significantly in the low shear region (within 1.5 cm distal to the curvature site on the outer wall), thus rendering the wall shear rate waveform more oscillatory and making the site appear more atherogenic. The effect of the phase angle is most noteworthy on the inner wall close to the flow divider tip where the mean and amplitude of wall shear rate are 31 and 23 percent lower, respectively, at the phase angle of −17 deg than at −61 deg. However, the characteristics of the wall shear rate distribution in the low shear rate zone on the outer wall that are believed to influence localization of atherosclerotic disease, such as the mean wall shear rate level, oscillation in the wall shear rate waveform, and the length of the low and oscillatory wall shear rate zone, are similar for the three phase angles considered. The study also showed a large spatial variation of the phase angle between the wall shear stress waveform and the circumferential stress waveform (hoop stress due to radial artery expansion in response to pressure variations) near the bifurcation (up to 70 deg). The two stresses became more out of phase in the low mean shear rate zone on the outer wall (wall shear stress wave leading hoop stress wave as much as 125 deg at the pressure-flow phase angle of −61 deg) and were significantly influenced by the impedance phase angle.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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