The influence of the angle of confluence on the flow in a vertebro-basilar junction model

J Ravensbergen*, JKB Krijger, B Hillen, HW Hoogstraten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In earlier work, it was demonstrated that the Bow in models of the vertebro-basilar junction is highly three-dimensional and the geometry exerts a strong influence on the hemodynamics. The morphology of the vertebro-basilar junction is very variable amongst individuals. In a study of 85 human vertebro-basilar junctions, the angle between the vertebral arteries varied between 10 and 160 degrees.

To determine how the flow is influenced by this geometrical parameter, the Bow is studied both experimentally, with laser Doppler velocimetry, and numerically, with a finite element package. A series of junction models is used with a range of confluence angles (45, 85 and 125 degrees). It appears that the angle of confluence has a strong influence on the structure and strength of the secondary flow field. The secondary velocities persist far downstream. Furthermore, near the apex, a region with low velocities is present. The larger the confluence angle is, the larger this region is, and even backflow may occur. In addition, the occurrence of atherosclerotic plaques in 85 human vertebrobasilar junctions is studied. Only one preferential location was found: the apex, the other plaques seem to be randomly distributed. The magnitude of the confluence angle of junctions with sharp-edged apices has a significant influence (p = 0.006) on the occurrence of a plaque at the apex. Apparently, a large confluence angle is a geometrical risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of biomechanics
Volume29
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-1996

Keywords

  • HUMAN CAROTID BIFURCATION
  • DOPPLER ANEMOMETER MEASUREMENTS
  • STEADY FLOW
  • CORONARY-ARTERIES
  • BRANCHING ANGLE
  • PULSATILE FLOW
  • SHEAR-STRESS
  • ATHEROSCLEROSIS
  • TRANSPORT
  • PATTERNS

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