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Technical Briefs

Bubble Motion in a Blood Vessel: Shear Stress Induced Endothelial Cell Injury

[+] Author and Article Information
K. Mukundakrishnan

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, 220 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104karthikm@seas.upenn.edu

P. S. Ayyaswamy1

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, 220 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104ayya@seas.upenn.edu

D. M. Eckmann

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104david.eckmann@uphs.upenn.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 131(7), 074516 (Jul 07, 2009) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3153310 History: Received September 30, 2008; Revised April 29, 2009; Published July 07, 2009

Mechanisms governing endothelial cell (EC) injury during arterial gas embolism have been investigated. Such mechanisms involve multiple scales. We have numerically investigated the macroscale flow dynamics due to the motion of a nearly occluding finite-sized air bubble in blood vessels of various sizes. Non-Newtonian behavior due to both the shear-thinning rheology of the blood and the Fahraeus–Lindqvist effect has been considered. The occluding bubble dynamics lends itself for an axisymmetric treatment. The numerical solutions have revealed several hydrodynamic features in the vicinity of the bubble. Large temporal and spatial shear stress gradients occur on the EC surface. The stress variations manifest in the form of a traveling wave. The gradients are accompanied by rapid sign changes. These features are ascribable to the development of a region of recirculation (vortex ring) in the proximity of the bubble. The shear stress gradients together with sign reversals may partially act as potential causes in the disruption of endothelial cell membrane integrity and functionality.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the gas embolism problem and the associated scales

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Figure 2

Re=2, λ=0.96: velocity vectors and streamlines as observed in ((a) and (b)) an inertial frame, ((c) and (d)) a frame moving with the steady state velocity of the bubble, and (e) close-up view of streamlines near point P as observed in the moving frame. The center dashdot line in each reference frame denotes the axis of symmetry.

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Figure 3

Variation of normalized shear stress as a function of time for a given location on the lumen for (a) Re=0.2, (b) Re=2, and (c) Re=200 with λ=0.9 and 0.96

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Figure 4

Magnitude of maximum jump in shear stress value as a function of λ for various Re

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Figure 5

Magnitude of maximum value of temporal shear stress gradient as a function of λ for various Re

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Figure 6

Number of endothelial cells affected by the shear stress solitary wave as a function of λ for various Re

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