AimsCoronary artery stents have profound effects on arterial function by altering fluid flow mass transport and wall shear stress. We developed a new integrated methodology to analyse the effects of stents on mass transport and shear stress to inform the design of haemodynamically-favourable stents.
Methods and resultsStents were deployed in model vessels followed by tracking of fluorescent particles under flow. Parallel analyses involved high-resolution micro-computed tomography scanning followed by computational fluid dynamics simulations to assess wall shear stress distribution. Several stent designs were analysed to assess whether the workflow was robust for diverse strut geometries. Stents had striking effects on fluid flow streamlines, flow separation or funnelling, and the accumulation of particles at areas of complex geometry that were tightly coupled to stent shape. CFD analysis revealed that stents had a major influence on wall shear stress magnitude, direction and distribution and this was highly sensitive to geometry.
ConclusionsIntegration of particle tracking with CFD allows assessment of fluid flow and shear stress in stented arteries in unprecedented detail. Deleterious flow perturbations, such as accumulation of particles at struts and non-physiological shear stress, were highly sensitive to individual stent geometry. Novel designs for stents should be tested for mass transport and shear stress which are important effectors of vascular health and repair.