Coronary Artery Geometry and Its Fluid Mechanical Implications

  • R. M. Nerem
  • W. A. Seed


Detailed measurements of dimensions and branching geometry were obtained from 19 post-mortem casts of normal coronary arteries. The casts were prepared by injection of quick-setting resin at physiologic pressures.

Diameters of the major vessels scaled well to aortic diameter. The left coronary artery divided into its two branches after a variable distance, with an area expansion. The geometry of this bifurcation, and of other branches downstream, showed considerable variation. The right coronary artery also showed a variable pattern of branching, but had a constant curvature for the major part of its length.

Estimated Reynolds numbers were in the range 70–170, and mean wall shear-stress 12–42 dynes/cm, at both upstream and downstream sites in all major vessels. Comparison with known patterns of early atheroma suggest that if fluid mechanic determinants of atherogenesis operate in these vessels, they are determined on a very localized basis by the anatomy.


Wall Shear Stress Myocardial Blood Flow Downstream Site Human Coronary Artery Smooth Muscle Tone 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Nerem
  • W. A. Seed

There are no affiliations available

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