Specific hemodynamic factors have been shown to be associated with atherosclerotic plaque localization at the human carotid bifurcation. Flow field characteristics may also determine plaque distribution in the abdominal aorta. We therefore characterized flow patterns in a glass model abdominal aorta that included its major branches under conditions of steady flow. Outflow resistances of the celiac, superior mesenteric, renal, inferior mesenteric, and iliac arteries were varied to produce flow distributions consistent with rest, the postprandial state, and vigorous lower limb exercise. Flow patterns were visualized with three colors of dye injected simultaneously through capillary tubes at selected locations and recorded as still photographs and by cinephotography on videotapes. Under resting conditions a large region of flow separation and stagnation occurred at the posterior wall of the aorta directly opposite the orifices of the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries. Similar separation regions were observed during the simulated postprandial state but diminished markedly when distal outflow was increased to levels consistent with exercise. In the highly susceptible infrarenal aortic segment, beginning about 2 cm below the renal artery orifices, multiple secondary flow patterns with three to four counterrotating vortex formations were observed under both resting and postprandial conditions but disappeared in the exercise state. Secondary flow patterns were not noted in the suprarenal abdominal aorta, which is usually relatively spared. Such features have been related to plaque localization elsewhere, and the disappearance of these patterns with increased flow velocity during exercise is consistent with the previously noted protective effect of unidirectional laminar high-flow states. The beneficial effects of physical fitness programs may be related in part to these hemodynamic modifications. © 1989.
Ku, D. N., Glagov, S., Moore, J. E., & Zarins, C. K. (1989). Flow patterns in the abdominal aorta under simulated postprandial and exercise conditions: An experimental study. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 9(2), 309–316. https://doi.org/10.1016/0741-5214(89)90051-7