Atherosclerosis at the early stage in coronary arteries has been associated with low cycle-average wall shear stress magnitude. However, parallel to the identification of an established active role for low wall shear stress in the onset/progression of the atherosclerotic disease, a weak association between lesions localization and low/oscillatory wall shear stress has been observed. In the attempt to fully identify the wall shear stress phenotype triggering early atherosclerosis in coronary arteries, this exploratory study aims at enriching the characterization of wall shear stress emerging features combining correlation-based analysis and complex networks theory with computational hemodynamics. The final goal is the characterization of the spatiotemporal and topological heterogeneity of wall shear stress waveforms along the cardiac cycle. In detail, here time-histories of wall shear stress magnitude and wall shear stress projection along the main flow direction and orthogonal to it (a measure of wall shear stress multidirectionality) are analyzed in a representative dataset of 10 left anterior descending pig coronary artery computational hemodynamics models. Among the main findings, we report that the proposed analysis quantitatively demonstrates that the model-specific inlet flow-rate shapes wall shear stress time-histories. Moreover, it emerges that a combined effect of low wall shear stress magnitude and of the shape of the wall shear stress–based descriptors time-histories could trigger atherosclerosis at its earliest stage. The findings of this work suggest for new experiments to provide a clearer determination of the wall shear stress phenotype which is at the basis of the so-called arterial hemodynamic risk hypothesis in coronary arteries.

complex networks, Computational fluid dynamics, coronary artery, spatiotemporal analysis, wall shear stress
dx.doi.org/10.1177/0954411920923253, hdl.handle.net/1765/127562
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
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Department of Cardiology

Calò, K. (Karol), De Nisco, G. (Giuseppe), Gallo, D. (Diego), Chiastra, C, Hoogendoorn, A, Steinman, D.A, … Morbiducci, U. (2020). Exploring wall shear stress spatiotemporal heterogeneity in coronary arteries combining correlation-based analysis and complex networks with computational hemodynamics. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine. doi:10.1177/0954411920923253