Complications associated with abnormalities of the ascending and thoracic aorta are directly influenced by mechanical forces. To understand hemodynamic alterations associated with diseases in this region, however, we must first characterize related indices during normal conditions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of the ascending and thoracic aorta to date have only provided descriptions of the velocity field using idealized representations of the vasculature, a single patient data set, and outlet boundary conditions that do not replicate physiologic blood flow and pressure. Importantly, the complexity of aortic flow patterns, limited availability of methods for implementing appropriate boundary conditions, and ability to replicate vascular anatomy all contribute to the difficulty of the problem and, likely, the scarcity of more detailed studies.

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