Direct numerical simulation of transitional flow in a stenosed carotid bifurcation

Seung E. Lee, Sang Wook Lee, Paul F. Fischer, Hisham S. Bassiouny, Francis Loth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The blood flow dynamics of a stenosed, subject-specific, carotid bifurcation were numerically simulated using the spectral element method. Pulsatile inlet conditions were based on in vivo color Doppler ultrasound measurements of blood velocity. The results demonstrated the transitional or weakly turbulent state of the blood flow, which featured rapid velocity and pressure fluctuations in the post-stenotic region of the internal carotid artery (ICA) during systole and laminar flow during diastole. High-frequency vortex shedding was greatest downstream of the stenosis during the deceleration phase of systole. Velocity fluctuations had a frequency within the audible range of 100-300 Hz. Instantaneous wall shear stress (WSS) within the stenosis was relatively high during systole (∼25-45 Pa) compared to that in a healthy carotid. In addition, high spatial gradients of WSS were present due to flow separation on the inner wall. Oscillatory flow reversal and low pressure were observed distal to the stenosis in the ICA. This study predicts the complex flow field, the turbulence levels and the distribution of the biomechanical stresses present in vivo within a stenosed carotid artery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2551-2561
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid artery bifurcation
  • Hemodynamics
  • Spectral element method
  • Stenosis
  • Turbulence
  • Wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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