Local flow alterations created by a metallic stent in a simulated coronary artery were studied to compare the hemodynamic effects of two different stent geometries. Dye injection flow visualization and computational fluid dynamics were used. Resting and exercise conditions were studied. Flow visualization using the dye injection method provided a qualitative picture of stent hemodynamics while the computational approach provided detailed quantitative information on the flow next to the vessel wall near the intersections of stent wires. Dye injection visualization revealed that more dye became entrapped between the wires where the wire spacing was smallest. The dye washout times were shorter under exercise conditions for both wire spacings tested. The computational results showed that stagnation zones were continuous from one wire to the next when the wire spacing was small. Results from greater wire spacing (more than six wire diameters) showed that the stagnation zones were separate for at least part of the cardiac cycle. The sizes of the stagnation zones were larger under exercise conditions, and the largest stagnation zones were observed distal to the stent. These studies demonstrate that stent geometry has a significant effect on local hemodynamics. The observation that fluid stagnation is continuous in stents with wire spacings of less than six wire diameters may provide a criterion for future stent design.
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