Numerical investigation of turbulence in abdominal aortic aneurysms

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Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a powerful method to investigate aneurysms. The primary focus of most investigations has been to compute various hemodynamic parameters to assess the risk posed by an aneurysm. Despite the occurrence of transitional flow in aneurysms, turbulence has not received much attention. In this article, we investigate turbulence in the context of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Since the clinical practice is to diagnose an AAA on the basis of its size, hypothetical axisymmetric geometries of various sizes are constructed. In general, just after the peak systole, a vortex ring is shed from the expansion region of an AAA. As the ring advects downstream, an azimuthal instability sets in and grows in amplitude thereby destabilizing the ring. The eventual breakdown of the vortex ring into smaller vortices leads to turbulent fluctuations. A residence time study is also done to identify blood recirculation zones, as a recirculation region can lead to degradation of the arterial wall. In some of the geometries simulated, the enhanced local mixing due to turbulence does not allow a recirculation zone to form, whereas in other geometries, turbulence had no effect on them. The location and consequence of a recirculation zone suggest that it could develop into an intraluminal thrombus (ILT). Finally, the possible impact of turbulence on the oscillatory shear index (OSI), a hemodynamic parameter, is explored. To conclude, this study highlights how a small change in the geometric aspects of an AAA can lead to a vastly different flow field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number061001
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Aneurysm
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Oscillatory shear index
  • Pulsatile flow
  • Recirculation region
  • Turbulence
  • Vortex ring

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