Disturbances in arterial flow are believed to influence the localization and development of atherosclerotic plaques. The femoral arteries of 26 patients were studied with cineangiography, after which the films were digitized and analyzed with an image analysis computer. The image sequence was converted to a set of time-intensity curves, from which time parameters were calculated, representing the arrival time of the contrast medium at each pixel. In the resulting parametric images, zones of delayed contrast filling (ZDF) were identified by an adaptive thresholding, which identifies lighter regions within the vessel, excluding the smallest ones. The ZDF, which have been shown, in a model study, to correspond to disturbed flow, were more frequent in the inner curvature than in the outer curvature of the curved vessels. Accordingly, they were more frequent along the lateral wall than along the medial wall of the artery. Several ZDF were also found in the vicinity of bifurcations. Most of the findings tally closely with fluid mechanical theory. In future studies, flow disturbances are to be correlated with the progression of atherosclerotic lesions.
1993. Vol. 26, no 9, 1105-1115 p.