Alterations in Regional Vascular Geometry Produced by Theoretical Stent Implantation Influence Distributions of Wall Shear Stress: Analysis of a Curved Coronary Artery Using 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling
BioMedical Engineering OnLine
Original Item ID
The success of stent implantation in the restoration of blood flow through areas of vascular narrowing is limited by restenosis. Several recent studies have suggested that the local geometric environment created by a deployed stent may influence regional blood flow characteristics and alter distributions of wall shear stress (WSS) after implantation, thereby rendering specific areas of the vessel wall more susceptible to neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Stents are most frequently implanted in curved vessels such as the coronary arteries, but most computational studies examining blood flow patterns through stented vessels conducted to date use linear, cylindrical geometric models. It appears highly probable that restenosis occurring after stent implantation in curved arteries also occurs as a consequence of changes in fluid dynamics that are established immediately after stent implantation.
In the current investigation, we tested the hypothesis that acute changes in stent-induced regional geometry influence distributions of WSS using 3D coronary artery CFD models implanted with stents that either conformed to or caused straightening of the primary curvature of the left anterior descending coronary artery. WSS obtained at several intervals during the cardiac cycle, time averaged WSS, and WSS gradients were calculated using conventional techniques.
Implantation of a stent that causes straightening, rather than conforms to the natural curvature of the artery causes a reduction in the radius of curvature and subsequent increase in the Dean number within the stented region. This straightening leads to modest skewing of the velocity profile at the inlet and outlet of the stented region where alterations in indices of WSS are most pronounced. For example, time-averaged WSS in the proximal portion of the stent ranged from 8.91 to 11.7 dynes/cm2 along the pericardial luminal surface and 4.26 to 4.88 dynes/cm2 along the myocardial luminal surface of curved coronary arteries as compared to 8.31 dynes/cm2 observed throughout the stented region of a straight vessel implanted with an equivalent stent.
The current results predicting large spatial and temporal variations in WSS at specific locations in curved arterial 3D CFD simulations are consistent with clinically observed sites of restenosis. If the findings of this idealized study translate to the clinical situation, the regional geometry established immediately after stent implantation may predispose portions of the stented vessel to a higher risk of neointimal hyperplasia and subsequent restenosis.