Flow patterns in carotid bifurcation models using pulsed Doppler ultrasound: effect of concentric vs. eccentric stenosis on turbulence and recirculation

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2010 Jul;36(7):1125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 May 5.


Hemodynamics play a significant role in stroke risk, where thrombus formation may be accelerated in regions of slow or recirculating flow, high shear and increased turbulence. An in vitro investigation was performed with pulsed Doppler ultrasound (DUS) using the complete spectral data to investigate the three-dimensional (3-D) distribution of advanced parameters that may have potential for making a more specific in vivo diagnosis of carotid disease and stroke risk. The effect of stenosis symmetry and the potential of DUS spectral parameters for visualizing regions of recirculation or turbulence were explored. DUS was used to map pulsatile flow in four model geometries representing two different plaque symmetries (eccentricity) and two stenosis severities (mild, severe). Qualitative comparisons were made with flow patterns visualized using digital particle imaging. Color-encoded maps of DUS spectral parameters (mean velocity, spectral-broadening index and turbulence intensity) clearly distinguished regions of slow or recirculating flow and disturbed or turbulent flow. Distinctly different flow patterns resulted from stenoses of equal severity but different eccentricity. Noticeable differences were seen in both the size and location of recirculation zones and in the paths of high-velocity jets. Highly elevated levels of turbulence intensity were seen distal to severe stenosis. Results demonstrated the importance of plaque shape, which is typically not considered in standard diagnosis, in addition to stenosis severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Stenosis / physiopathology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Pulsed / instrumentation
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Pulsed / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Phantoms, Imaging