A fluid--structure interaction finite element analysis of pulsatile blood flow through a compliant stenotic artery

J Biomech Eng. 1999 Aug;121(4):361-9. doi: 10.1115/1.2798332.


A new model is used to analyze the fully coupled problem of pulsatile blood flow through a compliant, axisymmetric stenotic artery using the finite element method. The model uses large displacement and large strain theory for the solid, and the full Navier-Stokes equations for the fluid. The effect of increasing area reduction on fluid dynamic and structural stresses is presented. Results show that pressure drop, peak wall shear stress, and maximum principal stress in the lesion all increase dramatically as the area reduction in the stenosis is increased from 51 to 89 percent. Further reductions in stenosis cross-sectional area, however, produce relatively little additional change in these parameters due to a concomitant reduction in flow rate caused by the losses in the constriction. Inner wall hoop stretch amplitude just distal to the stenosis also increases with increasing stenosis severity, as downstream pressures are reduced to a physiological minimum. The contraction of the artery distal to the stenosis generates a significant compressive stress on the downstream shoulder of the lesion. Dynamic narrowing of the stenosis is also seen, further augmenting area constriction at times of peak flow. Pressure drop results are found to compare well to an experimentally based theoretical curve, despite the assumption of laminar flow.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Compliance
  • Constriction, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Pulsatile Flow*
  • Stress, Mechanical