Wall shear stress (WSS)—a key regulator of endothelial function—is commonly estimated in vivo using simplified mathematical models based on Poiseuille's flow, assuming a quasi-steady parabolic velocity distribution, despite evidence that more rapidly time-varying, pulsatile blood flow during each cardiac cycle modulates flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in large arteries of healthy subjects. More exact and accurate models based on the well-established Womersley solution for rapidly changing blood flow have not been adopted clinically, potentially because the Womersley solution relies on the local pressure gradient, which is difficult to measure non-invasively. We have developed an open-source method for automatic reconstruction of unsteady, Womersley-derived velocity profiles, and WSS in conduit arteries. The proposed method (available online at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7576408) requires only the time-averaged diameter of the vessel and time-varying velocity data available from non-invasive imaging such as Doppler ultrasound. Validation of the method with subject-specific computational fluid dynamics and application to synthetic velocity waveforms in the common carotid, brachial, and femoral arteries reveals that the Poiseuille solution underestimates peak WSS 38.5%–55.1% during the acceleration and deceleration phases of systole and underestimates or neglects retrograde WSS. Following evidence that oscillatory shear significantly augments vasodilator production, it is plausible that mischaracterization of the shear stimulus by assuming parabolic flow leads to systematic underestimates of important biological effects of time-varying blood velocity in conduit arteries.


This is the publisher PDF of Muskat, JC; Babbs, CF; Goergen, CJ; and Rayz, VL. (2023) "Method for Estimating Pulsatile Wall Shear Stress from One-Dimensional Velocity Waveforms." Physiological Reports 11 (7). Available at DOI: 10.14814/phy2.15628, it has been published CC-BY.


flow-mediated dilation, reduced-order model, shear rate, velocity profile, Womersley solution

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