Indexed on: 28 Jan '06Published on: 28 Jan '06Published in: Journal of biomechanics
Despite the fact that the role of wall shear stress (WSS) as a local mechanical factor in atherogenesis is well established, its distribution over the entire normal human left coronary artery (LCA) tree has not yet been studied. A three-dimensional computer generated model of the epicardial LCA tree, based on averaged human data set extracted from angiographies, was adopted for finite-element analysis of the Navier-Stokes flow equations treating blood as non-Newtonian fluid. The LCA tree includes the left main coronary artery (LMCA), the left anterior descending (LAD), the left circumflex artery (LCxA) and their major branches. In proximal LCA tree regions where atherosclerosis frequently occurs, low WSS appears. Low WSS regions occur at bifurcations in regions opposite the flow dividers, which are anatomic sites predisposed for atherosclerotic development. On the LMCA bifurcation, at regions opposite to the flow divider, dominant low WSS values occur ranging from 0.75 to 2.25 N/m2. High WSS values are encountered at all flow dividers. This work determines, probably for the first time, the topography of the WSS in the entire normal human LCA epicardial tree. It is also the first work determining the spatial WSS differentiation between proximal and distal normal human LCA parts. The haemodynamic analysis of the entire epicardial LCA tree further verifies the implications of the WSS in atherosclerosis mechanisms.