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J Biomech. 1998 Mar;31(3):217-28.

Validated computation of physiologic flow in a realistic coronary artery branch.

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Institute of Mathematics, Technical University Graz, Austria.


The pulsatile flow field in an anatomically realistic model of the bifurcation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) and its first diagonal branch (D1) was simulated numerically and measured by laser Doppler anemometry. The inlet velocity profiles used in the computer simulation and in the physical experiments were physiologically realistic. The computational geometric model was developed on the basis of a digitized arterial cast. The curvature of the LAD over the cardiac surface leads to axial velocity profiles which are slightly skewed towards the epicardial wall. Downstream of the bifurcation, a strong skewing occurs towards the flow divider walls as a result of branching. Locally, the wall shear stress component caused by the complex secondary velocity can be as high as the axial component. The wall shear stress representation from a cell-based perspective exhibits low shear stress and large deviation from the time-averaged shear stress direction during systole. In diastole, the instantaneous wall shear stress direction nearly corresponds to the mean direction. The comparison of computed and measured axial velocity results shows generally good agreement. In contrast to computed flow patterns in simpler geometries constructed from cylindrical tubes, the flow field is found to be smoother, presumably reflecting the adaptation of the vascular contour to the contained flow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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