Background: The carotid blood flow following carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is not fully understood. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a promising method to study blood flow. This study is to investigate local hemodynamic characteristics after CEA via the use of unenhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and CFD. Methods: Eight carotid arteries with atherosclerosis and sixteen normal carotid arteries were included in this study. Time-of-flight (TOF) and phase contrast (PC) MRA were applied for the measurement of three-dimensional artery geometries and velocity profile under CFD simulation. The hemodynamic parameters of the proximal internal carotid artery (ICA) including velocity, ICA/common carotid artery (CCA) velocity ratio, mean, maximum, minimum and gradient of wall shear stress (WSSmean, WSSmax, WSSmin and WSSG) were calculated before and after CEA. Morphologic characteristics of the carotid including bifurcation angle, tortuosity and planarity were also analyzed. Results: Compared with pre-CEA, there was a significant reduction in post-CEA velocity, WSSmax, WSSmean, and WSSG, by 87.24%±13.38%, 86.86%±14.97%, 57.32%±56.71% and 69.74%±37.03% respectively, whereas WSSmin was almost unchanged. ICA/CCA velocity ratios increased significantly after CEA. We also found that the post-CEA flow conditions were positively remodelled to approximate the conditions in normal arteries. The correlation between PC-MRA and CFD was excellent for the measurement of maximum velocity at the external carotid artery (r=0.846). Conclusions: Our preliminary results indicated that major flow dynamics were restored shortly following CEA, and CFD based on MRA measurements could be useful for quantitative evaluation of hemodynamic outcomes after CEA.
- Carotid atherosclerosis
- Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Wall shear stress (WSS)