Influence of plaque stiffness on deformation and blood flow patterns in models of stenosis

Yasutomo Shimizu, Makoto Ohta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Blood flow in stenotic vessels strongly influences the progression of vascular diseases. Plaques in stenotic blood vessels vary in stiffness, which influences plaque behavior and deformation by pressure and flow. Concurrent changes in plaque geometry can, in turn, affect blood flow conditions. Thus, simultaneous studies of blood flow and plaque deformation are needed to fully understand these interactions. OBJECTIVES: This study aims to identify the change of flow conditions attendant to plaque deformation in a model stenotic vessel. METHODS: Three plaques of differing stiffness were constructed on a vessel wall using poly (vinyl alcohol) hydrogels (PVA-H) with defined stiffness to facilitate simultaneous observations of blood flow and plaque deformation. Flow patterns were observed using particle image velocimetry (PIV). RESULTS: Decreases in Reynolds number (Re) with increased plaque deformation suggest that velocity decrease is more critical to establishment of the flow pattern than expansion of the model lumen. Upon exiting the stenosis, the location of the flow reattachment point, shifted further downstream in all models as plaque stiffness decreased and depended on the increase in upstream pressure. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that in addition to luminal area, plaque stiffness should be considered as a measure of the severity of the pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sep 29


  • Biomodel
  • PIV
  • plaque stiffness
  • stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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