3D pulsatile flow in a curved tube with coexisting model of aortic stenosis and coarctation of the aorta

Med Eng Phys. 2011 Apr;33(3):315-24. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2010.10.017. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


Coarctation of the aorta is a congenital heart disease defined as an obstruction of the aorta distal to the left subclavian artery (between the aortic arch and descending aorta). It is usually associated with other diseases such as bicuspid and tricuspid aortic stenosis. If the coarctation remains uncorrected it can lead to hypertension, left ventricular failure and aortic dissection. Numerous investigations pointed out that there is a relationship between the genesis and the progression of cardiovascular disease and the locally irregular flow occurring at the diseased zone. Therefore, to examine the relationship between arterial disease and hemodynamics conditions, detailed quantitative studies on flow dynamics in arterial models are clearly inquired. In this study we numerically investigate pulsatile blood flow in a simplified model of the aorta (curved pipe) with coexisting coarctation of the aorta and aortic stenosis. Three severities of aortic stenoses (0.61 cm(2), 1.0 cm(2) and 1.5 cm(2)) coexisting with aortic coarctations (50%, 75% and 90% by area) are investigated. An experimentally validated numerical model from literature is used and baseline results are validated against it. To ensure having a physiologically relevant model using this geometry, flow properties are set so that the Dean number falls in the physiological range for the aorta. The results show that the coexistence of these pathologies significantly modifies the flow in a curved pipe. The maximal velocity is shifted towards the outer wall and can reach values as high as 5m/s just downstream of the coarctation. The wall shear stress distribution is significantly modified compared to the normal, unobstructed case. Finally, a clinically significant pressure gradient is induced by the curvature of the tube (up to 36 mmHg). This can lead to an overestimation of the severity of the coarctation using catheterization.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Coarctation / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pressure
  • Pulsatile Flow*
  • Stress, Mechanical