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Effects of size and elasticity on the relation between flow velocity and wall shear stress in side-wall aneurysms: A lattice Boltzmann-based computer simulation study
Blood flow in an artery is a fluid-structure interaction problem. It is widely accepted that aneurysm formation, enlargement and failure are associated with wall shear stress (WSS) which is exerted by flowing blood on the aneurysmal wall. To date, the combined effect of aneurysm size and wall elasticity on intra-aneurysm (IA) flow characteristics, particularly in the case of side-wall aneurysms, is poorly understood. Here we propose a model of three-dimensional viscous flow in a compliant artery containing an aneurysm by employing the immersed boundary-lattice Boltzmann-finite element method. This model allows to adequately account for the elastic deformation of both the blood vessel and aneurysm walls. Using this model, we perform a detailed investigation of the flow through aneurysm under different conditions with a focus on the parameters which may influence the wall shear stress. Most importantly, it is shown in this work that the use of flow velocity as a proxy for wall shear stress is well justified only in those sections of the vessel which are close to the ideal cylindrical geometry. Within the aneurysm domain, however, the correlation between wall shear stress and flow velocity is largely lost due to the complexity of the geometry and the resulting flow pattern. Moreover, the correlations weaken further with the phase shift between flow velocity and transmural pressure. These findings have important implications for medical applications since wall shear stress is believed to play a crucial role in aneurysm rupture.