This study examines the hemodynamics of the abdominal aorta during physiological changes in flow rates and pulse rate that occur under exercise and postprandial conditions. Hemodynamic measurements were performed using an in vitro model which took into account seven major branches, the curvature, and the pulsatile nature of blood flow of the abdominal aorta. Magnetic Resonance Imaging velocimetry employing phase-velocity encoding was used to measure the pulsatile axial velocity profiles for the entire cross-section at three axial locations. Under simulated exercise conditions, the forward velocities were approximately double those seen during rest, and the flow reversal seen for resting conditions was greatly reduced. Near the posterior wall of the infrarenal aorta, the velocities were negative for only 21 percent of the cardiac cycle as compared with 82 percent for resting conditions. Postprandial conditions produced a 25 percent reduction in peak velocity and a 33 percent reduction in mean velocity near the left anterior wall of the aorta just distal to the superior mesenteric artery (in comparison with resting conditions). The changes that can occur in abdominal aorta hemodynamics under different physiologic conditions may affect the rate of progression of atherosclerosis at this site.

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