Blood flow dynamics in saccular aneurysm models of the basilar artery

J Biomech Eng. 2006 Aug;128(4):516-26. doi: 10.1115/1.2205377.


Blood flow dynamics under physiologically realistic pulsatile conditions plays an important role in the growth, rupture, and surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms. The temporal and spatial variations of wall pressure and wall shear stress in the aneurysm are hypothesized to be correlated with its continuous expansion and eventual rupture. In addition, the assessment of the velocity field in the aneurysm dome and neck is important for the correct placement of endovascular coils. This paper describes the flow dynamics in two representative models of a terminal aneurysm of the basilar artery under Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid assumptions, and compares their hemodynamics with that of a healthy basilar artery. Virtual aneurysm models are investigated numerically, with geometric features defined by beta = 0 deg and beta = 23.2 deg, where beta is the tilt angle of the aneurysm dome with respect to the basilar artery. The intra-aneurysmal pulsatile flow shows complex ring vortex structures for beta = 0 deg and single recirculation regions for beta = 23.2 deg during both systole and diastole. The pressure and shear stress on the aneurysm wall exhibit large temporal and spatial variations for both models. When compared to a non-Newtonian fluid, the symmetric aneurysm model (beta = 0 deg) exhibits a more unstable Newtonian flow dynamics, although with a lower peak wall shear stress than the asymmetric model (beta = 23.2 deg). The non-Newtonian fluid assumption yields more stable flows than a Newtonian fluid, for the same inlet flow rate. Both fluid modeling assumptions, however, lead to asymmetric oscillatory flows inside the aneurysm dome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basilar Artery / physiopathology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Elasticity
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / physiopathology*
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Shear Strength
  • Stress, Mechanical