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A Fluid–Structure Interaction Study on the Rupture Vulnerability of Different Types of Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque

Hamed Afrasiab


The morphological characteristics of the atherosclerotic plaque are known to have a pronounced effect on the rupture risk of the plaque. In this study, using a fully-coupled fluid–structure interaction (FSI) analysis of the pulsatile blood through a compliant stenotic coronary artery, the effect of the plaque shape is studied on the mechanical stress developed in the plaque fibrous cap. Four general types of coronary plaques are considered for this purpose. The rupture susceptibility of these general plaque types is investigated in different values of fibrous cap thickness, stenosis degree and atheromatous core stiffness. The arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) approach in the finite element framework is employed to formulate the FSI problem. It is proved that the plaque smoothness along the blood flow is one of the major parameters affecting the maximum stress in the plaque cap. The results may help clinicians to recognize the vulnerable plaques and to provide early treatment and preventive measures before their rupture.

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