A two-dimensional numerical analysis of unsteady flow in the carotid artery bifurcation.

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In the present study a two-dimensional finite element model for incompressible Newtonian flow is applicated to the modelling of carotid artery flow. In earlier studies, the numerical model was validated experimentally for several flow configurations. In general the pulsatile flow is characterized by reversed flow regions at the non-divider side walls of both the internal and external carotid arteries. The unsteadiness of the flow is associated with rather complex spatial and temporal velocity distributions and leads to temporal variations of the location and length of the reversed flow regions. As a consequence, pronounced spatial and temporal variations in the wall shear stresses are found. At the non-divider side walls, wall shear stresses are relatively low and exhibits an oscillatory behaviour in space and time. At the divider side walls, wall shear stresses are relatively high and approximately follow the flow rate distribution in time. The aim of this study is not only to present two-dimensional calculations but also to compare the calculated two-dimensional velocity profiles with those from three-dimensional experiments. It is observed that in the common carotid artery and in the proximal parts of the internal and external carotid arteries, the two-dimensional numerical model provides valuable information with respect to the three-dimensional configuration. In the more distal parts of especially the internal carotid artery, deviations are found between the two-dimensional numerical and three-dimensional experimental model. These deviations can mainly be attributed to the neglect of the secondary velocity distribution in the two-dimensional model. In the two-dimensional numerical model the influence of a minor stenosis in the internal carotid artery is hardly distinguishable from a minor geometrical variation without stenosis. Full three-dimensional analyses of the influence of minor stenoses are needed to prove numerically whether in-vivo measurements of the axial velocity distribution are useful in the detection of minor stenoses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-189
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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