Vortex shedding at vascular anastomoses were investigated in vitro using a 20 MHz pulsed-wave Doppler velocimeter. Centreline velocity measurements were made at various axial distances in simplified polyurethane models of proximal and distal end-to-side anastomoses of angles 15, 30, 45, 60 and 80 degrees using pulsatile flow waveforms similar to those in femoropopliteal bypass grafts. The in-phase and quadrature Doppler signals were recorded and the maximum frequency waveform, averaged over 64 cycles, was obtained using short-time Fourier transform. A fourth-order Butterworth low-pass filter was employed to separate the vortex velocity signal from the convective velocity. The vortex signal envelope was calculated using a Hilbert transform method and the vortex amplitude was taken as the maximum of this envelope. The results show that higher vortex amplitude were found in the proximal anastomoses and under resting flow conditions. Although the vortex amplitudes generally increased with angles of anastomosis, they were found to be higher in the 60 degrees than in the 80 degrees proximal anastomosis. The vortex structures were investigated using spectrograms and these show prominent features at 40-50 Hz indicative of the short-duration oscillatory signals during the decelerative phase of systole expected from the passage of vortices. The study indicates that flow disturbances due to vortex shedding may be a common feature in femoropopliteal bypass grafts.
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