Fluid Dynamic Assessments of Spiral Flow Induced by Vascular Grafts

  • Efstratios Kokkalis

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Peripheral vascular grafts are used for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease and arteriovenous grafts for vascular access in end stage renal disease. The development of neo-intimal hyperplasia and thrombosis in the distal anastomosis remains the main reason for occlusion in that region. The local haemodynamics produced by a graft in the host vessel is believed to significantly affect endothelial function. Single spiral flow is a normal feature in medium and large sized vessels and it is induced by the anatomical structure and physiological function of the cardiovascular system. Grafts designed to generate a single spiral flow in the distal anastomosis have been introduced in clinical practice and are known as spiral grafts. In this work, spiral peripheral vascular and arteriovenous grafts were compared with conventional grafts using ultrasound and computational methods to identify their haemodynamic differences.

    Vascular-graft flow phantoms were developed to house the grafts in different surgical configurations. Mimicking components, with appropriate acoustic properties, were chosen to minimise ultrasound beam refraction and distortion. A dual-beam two-dimensional vector Doppler technique was developed to visualise and quantify vortical structures downstream of each graft outflow in the cross-flow direction. Vorticity mapping and measurements of circulation were acquired based on the vector Doppler data. The flow within the vascular-graft models was simulated with computed tomography based image-guided modelling for further understanding of secondary flow motions and comparison with the experimental results. The computational assessments provided a three-dimensional velocity field in the lumen of the models allowing a range of fluid dynamic parameters to be predicted.

    Single- or double-spiral flow patterns consisting of a dominant and a smaller vortex were detected in the outflow of the spiral grafts. A double- triple- or tetra-spiral flow pattern was found in the outflow of the conventional graft, depending on model configuration and Reynolds number. These multiple-spiral patterns were associated with increased flow stagnation, separation and instability, which are known to be detrimental for endothelial behaviour. Increased in-plane mixing and wall shear stress, which are considered atheroprotective in normal vessels, were found in the outflow of the spiral devices. The results from the experimental approach were in agreement with those from the computational approach.

    This study applied ultrasound and computational methods to vascular-graft phantoms in order to characterise the flow field induced by spiral and conventional peripheral vascular and arteriovenous grafts. The results suggest that spiral grafts are associated with advanced local haemodynamics that may protect endothelial function and thereby may prevent their outflow anastomosis from neo-intimal hyperplasia and thrombosis. Consequently this work supports the hypothesis that spiral grafts may decrease outflow stenosis and hence improve patency rates in patients.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsVascular Flow Technologies Ltd, SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence) & University of Edinburgh
    SupervisorGraeme Houston (Supervisor), George Corner (Supervisor) & Peter R. Hoskins (Supervisor)


    • Spiral flow
    • Disturbed flow
    • Double spiral flow
    • Dean flow
    • Multiple spiral flow
    • Secondary flow motions
    • Flow stagnation
    • Flow separation
    • Flow instability
    • Peripheral arterial disease
    • End stage renal disease
    • Haemodialysis
    • Haemodynamics
    • Vascular graft
    • Prosthetic graft
    • Bypass graft
    • Arteriovenous graft
    • Peripheral vascular graft
    • AV graft
    • PV graft
    • Spiral flow graft
    • Spiral graft
    • Flow modification graft
    • Doppler ultrasound
    • Colour Doppler
    • Vector Doppler ultrasound
    • Flow phantom
    • Fluid dynamics
    • Fluid mechanics
    • Computational fluid dynamics
    • 31. Polyvinyl alcohol cryogel
    • Vessel mimic
    • Vessel mimicking tubing
    • Tissue mimic
    • Tissue mimicking material
    • Blood mimic
    • Blood mimicking material
    • Dual beam vector Doppler
    • Vorticity
    • Circulation
    • Velocity
    • Tangential velocity
    • Perpendicular velocity
    • In-plane velocity
    • Neo-intimal hyperplasia
    • Thrombosis
    • Vortical structures
    • Flow mixing
    • In-plane mixing
    • Image guided modelling
    • Wall shear stress
    • Helicity
    • Pressure drop

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