Flow studies in a model carotid bifurcation.
Boundary layer separation in a plexiglass model carotid bifurcation was investigated in relation to the origin of atherosclerotic plaque clinically found in this region. Our model was comparable to a human carotid in both dimensions and geometry. Water flowed through the model at Reynolds numbers from 200 to 1200 under steady and pulsatile flow conditions, with outflow through the external and internal branches varied. The near-wall flow was visualized by slow injection of dye through ports machined in the model. Under steady flow at a physiological Reynolds number of 500 and a flow split at the bifurcation similar to that of a human carotid at rest, boundary layer separation was found to occur in a carotid sinus across from the external carotid origin, forming a shell of slowly moving fluid around the bifurcation. The rapidly moving mainstream impinged directly on the flow divider. The location of atherosclerotic plaque correlates best with the low shear region of separation and not with the region of high shear at the flow divider. Preliminary studies with pulsatile flow demonstrated little change from the steady flow results.
- Copyright © 1981 by American Heart Association