Computational fluid dynamics of a vascular access case for hemodialysis

B. Ene-Iordache, L. Mosconi, G. Remuzzi, A. Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vascular accesses (VA) for hemodialysis are usually created by native arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) or synthetic grafts. Maintaining patency of VA continues to be a major problem for patients with end-stage renal disease, since in these vessels thrombosis and intimal hyperplasia often occur. These lesions are frequently associated with disturbed flow that develops near bifurcations or sharp curvatures. We explored the possibility of investigating blood flow dynamics in a patient-specific model of end-to-end native AVF using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Using digital subtraction angiographies of an AVF, we generated a three-dimensional meshwork for numerical analysis of blood flow. As input condition, a time-dependent blood waveform in the radial artery was derived from centerline velocity obtained during echo-color-Doppler ultrasound examination. The finite element solution was calculated using a fluid-dynamic software package. In the straight, afferent side of the radial artery wall shear stress ranged between 20 and 36 dynes/cm2, while on the inner surface of the bending zone it increased up to 350 dynes/cm2. On the venous side, proximal to the anastomosis, wall shear stress was oscillating between negative and positive values (from -12 dynes/cm2 to 112 dynes/cm2), while distal from the anastomosis, the wall shear stress returned within the physiologic range, ranging from 8 to 22 dynes/cm2. Areas of the vessel wall with very high shear stress gradient were identified on the bending zone of the radial artery and on the venous side, after the arteriovenous shunt. Secondary blood flows were also observed in these regions. CFD gave a detailed description of blood flow field and showed that this approach can be used for patient-specific analysis of blood vessels, to understand better the role of local hemodynamic conditions in the development of vascular lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-292
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biophysics


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