Pulsatile flow in a model carotid bifurcation.
Pulsatile flow in an in vitro model of the human carotid bifurcation was studied by flow visualization using hydrogen bubble techniques. A glass model was constructed after determining an average geometry from 57 biplanar angiograms of 22 subjects ranging from 34 to 77 years of age. The flow pulse used was a half-sine wave superimposed upon a mean flow. Maximum and minimum values of the instantaneous Reynolds number were 1200 and 400, respectively, based upon conditions in the common carotid model artery; the frequency parameter was 6.0. The division of flow into the internal external branches was 70:30. Visualization by hydrogen bubbles demonstrated significant deviations from steady flow behavior. Flow separated in the carotid sinus over the entire cycle, but the location and extent of separation varied strongly. The direction of flow near the walls of the model changed sharply during the cycle except for the region near the apex of the bifurcation where the orientation of streaklines was more nearly unidirectional at all times. Bubbles entering the separated flow region tended to remain entrapped there for several cycles. Rapid dispersion of bubbles occurred in the internal branch near the end of systole, suggesting the presence of flow disorder. The location of low wall shear stresses, directionally varying stresses, and longer residence times for fluid elements appears to coincide with the localization of early atheromatous plaques in human carotid specimens.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association