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Subject-Specific Fully-Coupled and One-Way Fluid-Structure Interaction Models for Modeling of Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaques in Humans

Xiaojuan Tao, Peiyi Gao, Lina Jing, Yan Lin, Binbin Sui

Department of Radiology, Beijing Tian Tan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:3279-3290

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.895137

Available online:

Published: 2015-10-29

BACKGROUND: Hemodynamics play an important role in the development and progression of carotid atherosclerosis, and may be important in the assessment of plaque vulnerability. The aim of this study was to develop a system to assess the hemodynamics of carotid atherosclerotic plaques using subject-specific fluid-structure interaction (FSI) models based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Models of carotid bifurcations (n=86 with plaques from 52 patients, n=14 normal carotids from 12 participants) were obtained at the Department of Radiology, Beijing Tian Tan Hospital between 2010 and 2013. The maximum von Mises stress, minimum pressure, and flow velocity values were assessed at the most stenotic site in patients, or at the carotid bifurcations in healthy volunteers. Results of one-way FSI were compared with fully-coupled FSI for the plaques of 19 randomly selected models.
RESULTS: The maximum von Mises stress and the minimum pressure and velocity were significantly increased in the stenosis group compared with controls based on one-way FSI (all P<0.05). The maximum von Mises stress and the minimum pressure were significantly higher and the velocity was significantly lower based on fully coupled FSI compared with on-way FSI (all P<0.05). Although there were differences in numerical values, both methods were equivalent. The maximum von Mises stress of vulnerable plaques was significantly higher than stable plaques (P<0.001). The maximum von Mises stress of the group with fibrous cap defect was significantly higher than the group without fibrous cap defect (P=0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The hemodynamics of atherosclerotic plaques can be assessed noninvasively using subject-specific models of FSI based on MRI.

Keywords: Carotid Arteries - pathology, Adult, Carotid Artery Diseases - pathology, healthy volunteers, Hemodynamics, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Models, Cardiovascular, Plaque, Atherosclerotic - pathology