Pulsatile non-Newtonian blood flow in three-dimensional carotid bifurcation models: a numerical study of flow phenomena under different bifurcation angles

J Biomed Eng. 1991 Nov;13(6):507-15. doi: 10.1016/0141-5425(91)90100-l.


Flow and stress patterns in human carotid artery bifurcation models, which differ in the bifurcation angle, are analysed numerically under physiologically relevant flow conditions. The governing Navier-Stokes equations describing pulsatile, three-dimensional flow of an incompressible non-Newtonian fluid are approximated using a pressure correction finite element method, which has been developed recently. The non-Newtonian behaviour of blood is modelled using Casson's relation, based on measured dynamic viscosity. The study concentrates on flow and stress characteristics in the carotid sinus. The results show that the complex flow in the sinus is affected by the angle variation. The magnitude of reversed flow, the extension of the recirculation zone in the outer sinus region and the duration of flow separation during the pulse cycle as well as the resulting wall shear stress are clearly different in the small angle and in the large angle bifurcation. The haemodynamic phenomena, which are important in atherogenesis, are more pronounced in the large angle bifurcation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Viscosity
  • Carotid Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Carotid Arteries / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology*