Optical Coherence Tomography Based Biomechanical Fluid-Structure Interaction Analysis of Coronary Atherosclerosis Progression

Harry J. Carpenter, Mergen H. Ghayesh, Anthony C. Zander, Juanita L. Ottaway, Giuseppe Di Giovanni, Stephen J. Nicholls, Peter J. Psaltis

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In this paper, we present a complete workflow for the biomechanical analysis of atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary vasculature. With atherosclerosis as one of the leading causes of global death, morbidity and economic burden, novel ways of analyzing and predicting its progression are needed. One such computational method is the use of fluid-structure interaction (FSI) to analyze the interaction between the blood flow and artery/plaque domains. Coupled with in vivo imaging, this approach could be tailored to each patient, assisting in differentiating between stable and unstable plaques. We outline the three-dimensional reconstruction process, making use of intravascular Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and invasive coronary angiography (ICA). The extraction of boundary conditions for the simulation, including replicating the three-dimensional motion of the artery, is discussed before the setup and analysis is conducted in a commercial finite element solver. The procedure for describing the highly nonlinear hyperelastic properties of the artery wall and the pulsatile blood velocity/pressure is outlined along with setting up the system coupling between the two domains. We demonstrate the procedure by analyzing a non-culprit, mildly stenotic, lipid-rich plaque in a patient following myocardial infarction. Established and emerging markers related to atherosclerotic plaque progression, such as wall shear stress and local normalized helicity, respectively, are discussed and related to the structural response in the artery wall and plaque. Finally, we translate the results to potential clinical relevance, discuss limitations, and outline areas for further development. The method described in this paper shows promise for aiding in the determination of sites at risk of atherosclerotic progression and, hence, could assist in managing the significant death, morbidity, and economic burden of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62933
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number179
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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