Flow Patterns in Carotid Webs: A Patient-Based Computational Fluid Dynamics Study

K. C. J. Compagne, K. Dilba, E. J. Postema, A. C. G. M. van Es, B. J. Emmer, C. B. L. M. Majoie, W. H. van Zwam, D. W. J. Dippel, J. J. Wentzel, A. van der Lugt, F. J. H. Gijsen*, MR CLEAN Investigators

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Carotid webs are increasingly recognized as an important cause of (recurrent) ischemic stroke in patients without other cardiovascular risk factors. Hemodynamic flow patterns induced by these lesions might be associated with thrombus formation. The aim of our study was to evaluate flow patterns of carotid webs using computational fluid dynamics.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with a carotid web in the Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial of Endovascular Treatment of Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Netherlands (MR CLEAN) were selected for hemodynamic evaluation with computational fluid dynamics models based on lumen segmentations obtained from CT angiography scans. Hemodynamic parameters, including the area of recirculation zone, time-averaged wall shear stress, transverse wall shear stress, and the oscillatory shear index, were assessed and compared with the contralateral carotid bifurcation.

RESULTS: In our study, 9 patients were evaluated. Distal to the carotid webs, recirculation zones were significantly larger compared with the contralateral bifurcation (63 versus 43 mm(2), P = .02). In the recirculation zones of the carotid webs and the contralateral carotid bifurcation, time-averaged wall shear stress values were comparable (both: median, 0.27 Pa; P = .30), while transverse wall shear stress and oscillatory shear index values were significantly higher in the recirculation zone of carotid webs (median, 0.25 versus 0.21 Pa; P = .02 and 0.39 versus 0.30 Pa; P = .04). At the minimal lumen area, simulations showed a significantly higher time-averaged wall shear stress in the web compared with the contralateral bifurcation (median, 0.58 versus 0.45 Pa; P = .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Carotid webs are associated with increased recirculation zones and regional increased wall shear stress metrics that are associated with disturbed flow. These findings suggest that a carotid web might stimulate thrombus formation, which increases the risk of acute ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-708
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019




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