Segment-specific associations between local haemodynamic and imaging markers of early atherosclerosis at the carotid artery: An in vivo human study

Diego Gallo, Payam B. Bijari, Umberto Morbiducci, Ye Qiao, Yuanyuan Xie, Maryam Etesami, Damiaan Habets, Edward G. Lakatta, Bruce A. Wasserman, David A. Steinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Low and oscillatory wall shear stress (WSS) has long been hypothesized as a risk factor for atherosclerosis; however, evidence has been inferred primarily from model and post-mortem studies, or clinical studies of patients with already-developed plaques. This study aimed to identify associations between local haemodynamic and imaging markers of early atherosclerosis. Comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging allowed quantification of contrast enhancement (CE) (a marker of endothelial dysfunction) and vessel wall thickness at two distinct segments: the internal carotid artery bulb and the common carotid artery (CCA). Strict criteria were applied to a large dataset to exclude inward remodelling, resulting in 41 cases for which personalized computational fluid dynamic simulations were performed. After controlling for cardiovascular risk factors, bulb wall thickening was found to be weakly, but not significantly, associated with oscillatory WSS. CE at the bulb was significantly associated with low WSS (p, 0.001) and low flow helicity (p, 0.05). No significant associations were found for the CCA segment. Local haemodynamics at the bulb were significantly correlated with blood flow rates and heart rates, but not carotid bifurcation geometry (flare and curvature). Therefore low, but not oscillatory, WSS is an early independent marker of atherosclerotic changes preceding intimal thickening at the carotid bulb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20180352
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Volume15
Issue number147
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Risk factors
  • Wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering

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