Investigation of pulsatile flowfield in healthy thoracic aorta models

Chih-yung Wen, An Shik Yang, Li Yu Tseng, Jyh Wen Chai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world. Complex hemodynamics plays a critical role in the development of aortic dissection and atherosclerosis, as well as many other diseases. Since fundamental fluid mechanics are important for the understanding of the blood flow in the cardiovascular circulatory system of the human body aspects, a joint experimental and numerical study was conducted in this study to determine the distributions of wall shear stress and pressure and oscillatory WSS index, and to examine their correlation with the aortic disorders, especially dissection. Experimentally, the Phase-Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PC-MRI) method was used to acquire the true geometry of a normal human thoracic aorta, which was readily converted into a transparent thoracic aorta model by the rapid prototyping (RP) technique. The thoracic aorta model was then used in the in vitro experiments and computations. Simulations were performed using the computational fluid dynamic (CFD) code ACE+®to determine flow characteristics of the three-dimensional, pulsatile, incompressible, and Newtonian fluid in the thoracic aorta model. The unsteady boundary conditions at the inlet and the outlet of the aortic flow were specified from the measured flowrate and pressure results during in vitro experiments. For the code validation, the predicted axial velocity reasonably agrees with the PC-MRI experimental data in the oblique sagittal plane of the thoracic aorta model. The thorough analyses of the thoracic aorta flow, WSSs, WSS index (OSI), and wall pressures are presented. The predicted locations of the maxima of WSS and the wall pressure can be then correlated with that of the thoracic aorta dissection, and thereby may lead to a useful biological significance. The numerical results also suggest that the effects of low WSS and high OSI tend to cause wall thickening occurred along the inferior wall of the aortic arch and the anterior wall of the brachiocephalic artery, similar implication reported in a number of previous studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-402
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Flow visualization system
  • Hemodynamics
  • Pulsatile flowfield
  • Thoracic aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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