Fractal structures in stenoses and aneurysms in blood vessels

Adriane B. Schelin, Gyoergy Karolyi, Alessandro P. S. de Moura, Nuala A. Booth, Celso Grebogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in the field of chaotic advection provide the impetus to revisit the dynamics of particles transported by blood flow in the presence of vessel wall irregularities. The irregularity, being either a narrowing or expansion of the vessel, mimicking stenoses or aneurysms, generates abnormal flow patterns that lead to a peculiar filamentary distribution of advected particles, which, in the blood, would include platelets. Using a simple model, we show how the filamentary distribution depends on the size of the vessel wall irregularity, and how it varies under resting or exercise conditions. The particles transported by blood flow that spend a long time around a disturbance either stick to the vessel wall or reside on fractal filaments. We show that the faster flow associated with exercise creates widespread filaments where particles can get trapped for a longer time, thus allowing for the possible activation of such particles. We argue, based on previous results in the field of active processes in flows, that the non-trivial long-time distribution of transported particles has the potential to have major effects on biochemical processes occurring in blood flow, including the activation and deposition of platelets. One aspect of the generality of our approach is that it also applies to other relevant biological processes, an example being the coexistence of plankton species investigated previously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5605-5617
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences
Issue number1933
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2010


  • blood
  • chaotic advection
  • circulatory diseases
  • flow
  • patchiness
  • boundaries
  • platelets
  • plankton
  • system


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