IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics, 2014. Paper Website abstract bibtex
A three-dimensional pulsatile aortic flow in a human ascending aorta is studied to investigate the effect of the aortic stiffness on the flow field and turbulent fluctuating velocities in the ascending aorta. A non-intrusive optical measurement technique, 3D Particle Tracking Velocimetry (3D-PTV), has been applied to anatomically accurate phantoms under clinically realistic conditions. A compliant silicon phantom was used to mimic the healthy aorta and a rigid model was used to imitate the pathological case that appears in aortas for example as a result of aging. The realistic models are transparent which allows optical access to the investigation domain and the index of refraction was matched to avoid optical distortions. Our results revealed that the aortic stiffness leads to an increase in systolic velocity and a decrease in the Windkessel effect, which is associated with the diastolic blood pressure. Furthermore, we found that the turbulent kinetic energy is about an order of magnitude higher for the rigid aorta, that is, an increase in aortic stiffness increases the magnitude of turbulent fluctuating velocities. The spatial distribution of the flow velocity showed that the flow is more organized and coherent spiraling patterns develop for the compliant aorta which helps to dampen the influence of disturbed flow. Finally, we observed higher Lagrangian acceleration and hence higher instantaneous forces acting on blood particles in the stiff case which implies that aging and hence arterial stiffening provokes distinctive alterations in blood flow and these alterations may cause pathological symptoms in the cardiovascular system.