Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized by arterial plaques that include several components of which the necrotic core has been recognized as an important indicator of the likelihood of plaque rupture [1]. In the present study, the relation of hemodynamic wall shear stress (WSS) to necrotic core localization in the left coronary artery of patients was investigated using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). An innovative 3D measuring technique was developed and was successfully used to reconstruct coronary arteries in patients based on angiographic images and echo ultrasound slices from IVUS. The reconstruction includes lumen, external elastic membrane (EEM) and spatial distribution of plaque components such as fibrous tissue, necrotic core and calcium. WSS distribution in the vessel segment was computed by CFD, and the relative locations of necrotic core and WSS were determined. Results to date support the hypothesis that a greater necrotic core in coronary plaques is associated with areas of low WSS. The methodology developed has implications for the study of plaque progression and the prediction of likelihood of plaque rupture.

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