Coronary artery plaque growth: A two-way coupled shear stress–driven model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis in coronary arteries can lead to plaque growth, stenosis formation, and blockage of the blood flow supplying the heart tissue. Several studies have shown that hemodynamics play an important role in the growth of coronary artery plaques. Specifically, low wall shear stress (WSS) appears to be the leading hemodynamic parameter promoting atherosclerotic plaque growth, which in turn influences the blood flow and WSS distribution. Therefore, a two-way coupled interaction exists between WSS and atherosclerosis growth. In this work, a computational framework was developed to study the coupling between WSS and plaque growth in coronary arteries. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to quantify WSS distribution. Surface mesh nodes were moved in the inward normal direction according to a growth model based on WSS. After each growth stage, the geometry was updated and the CFD simulation repeated to find updated WSS values for the next growth stage. One hundred twenty growth stages were simulated in an idealized tube and an image-based left anterior descending artery. An automated framework was developed using open-source software to couple CFD simulations with growth. Changes in plaque morphology and hemodynamic patterns during different growth stages are presented. The results show larger plaque growth towards the downstream segment of the plaque, agreeing with the reported clinical observations. The developed framework could be used to establish hemodynamic-driven growth models and study the interaction between these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3293
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • atherosclerosis
  • blood flow
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • hemodynamics
  • wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Coronary artery plaque growth: A two-way coupled shear stress–driven model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this