Effects of aortic irregularities on blood flow

Authors: Prahl Wittberg, L., van Wyk, S.v.W., Fuchs, L.F., Gutmark, E. , Backeljauw, P., Gutmark-Little, I.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Volume: 15(2)  
Year: 2016


Anatomic aortic anomalies are seen in many medical conditions and are known to cause disturbances in blood flow. Turner syndrome (TS) is a genetic disorder occurring only in females where cardiovascular anomalies, particularly of the aorta, are frequently encountered. In this study, numerical simulations are applied to investigate the flow characteristics in four TS patient-related aortic arches (a normal geometry, dilatation, coarctation and elongation of the transverse aorta). The Quemada viscosity model was applied to account for the non-Newtonian behavior of blood. The blood is treated as a mixture consisting of water and red blood cells (RBC) where the RBCs are modeled as a convected scalar. The results show clear geometry effects where the flow structures and RBC distribution are significantly different between the aortas. Transitional flow is observed as a jet is formed due to a constriction in the descending aorta for the coarctation case. RBC dilution is found to vary between the aortas, influencing the WSS. Moreover, the local variations in RBC volume fraction may induce large viscos- ity variations, stressing the importance of accounting for the non-Newtonian effects.