This study experimentally investigated the instability of flow impingement in a cerebral aneurysm, which was speculated to promote the degradation of aneurysmal wall. A patient-specific, full-scale and elastic-wall replica of cerebral artery was fabricated from transparent silicone rubber. The geometry of the aneurysm corresponded to that found at 9 days before rupture. The flow in a replica was analysed by quantitative flow visualization (stereoscopic particle image velocimetry) in a three-dimensional, high-resolution and time-resolved manner. The mid-systolic and late-diastolic flows with a Reynolds number of 450 and 230 were compared. The temporal and spatial variations of near-wall velocity at flow impingement delineated its inherent instability at a low Reynolds number. Wall shear stress (WSS) at that site exhibited a combination of temporal fluctuation and spatial divergence. The frequency range of fluctuation was found to exceed significantly that of the heart rate. The high-frequency- fluctuating WSS appeared only during mid-systole and disappeared during late diastole. These results suggested that the flow impingement induced a transition from a laminar regime. This study demonstrated that the hydrodynamic instability of shear layer could not be neglected even at a low Reynolds number. No assumption was found to justify treating the aneurysmal haemodynamics as a fully viscous laminar flow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering