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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 504367, 9 pages
Research Article

Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of the Effect of Plaques in the Left Coronary Artery

1Discipline of Medical Imaging, Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University, GPO Box, U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
2Fluid Dynamics Research Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6845, Australia

Received 30 September 2011; Revised 8 November 2011; Accepted 9 November 2011

Academic Editor: Kyehan Rhee

Copyright © 2012 Thanapong Chaichana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study was to investigate the hemodynamic effect of simulated plaques in left coronary artery models, which were generated from a sample patient’s data. Plaques were simulated and placed at the left main stem and the left anterior descending (LAD) to produce at least 60% coronary stenosis. Computational fluid dynamics analysis was performed to simulate realistic physiological conditions that reflect the in vivo cardiac hemodynamics, and comparison of wall shear stress (WSS) between Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid models was performed. The pressure gradient (PSG) and flow velocities in the left coronary artery were measured and compared in the left coronary models with and without presence of plaques during cardiac cycle. Our results showed that the highest PSG was observed in stenotic regions caused by the plaques. Low flow velocity areas were found at postplaque locations in the left circumflex, LAD, and bifurcation. WSS at the stenotic locations was similar between the non-Newtonian and Newtonian models although some more details were observed with non-Newtonian model. There is a direct correlation between coronary plaques and subsequent hemodynamic changes, based on the simulation of plaques in the realistic coronary models.