The localized nature of atherosclerosis has led to extensive study of blood flow patterns and their possible involvement in atherogenesis. Vessel geometry has always been considered a primary factor in determining blood flow patterns. In the coronary arteries, the geometry varies dynamically due to myocardial contraction. The effects of physiologic axial (Moore et al., 1994) and lateral (Delfino et al., 1994) vessel movement on coronary blood flow patterns have been shown to be important in producing oscillations in wall shear stress. Those studies were limited to straight vessels that translated in one direction only. Previous studies of flow in curved tubes with time-varying curvature showed relatively small (4% or less) changes in the mean inner wall shear rate near the tube entry (relative to the static, non-moving tube) when the curvature change was 10% or 30% of the mean radius of curvature (Santamarina et al., 1996). Angiographic data show that curvature changes may be as much as 85% of the mean radius of curvature (Pao et al., 1985). This study extends the analysis of Santamarina et al. (1996) to account for larger changes in curvature (50%), as well as different levels of mean curvature.

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