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An experimental investigation of the hemodynamic variations due to aplastic vessels within three-dimensional phantom models of the Circle of Willis.Fahy, Paul; McCarthy, Peter; Sultan, Sherif; Hynes, Niamh; Delassus, Patrick; Morris, Liam; Galway Medical Technologies Centre (GMedTech), Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland. (Annals of biomedical engineering, 2013-09-10)A complete circle of Willis (CoW) is found in approximately 30-50% of the population. Anatomical variations, such as absent or surgically clamped vessels, can result in undesirable flow patterns. These can affect the brain's ability to maintain cerebral perfusion and the formation of cerebral aneurysms. An experimental test system was developed to simulate cerebral physiological conditions through three flexible 3D patient-specific models of complete and incomplete CoW geometries. Flow visualizations were performed with isobaric dyes and the mapped dye streamlines were tracked throughout the models. Three to seven flow impact locations were observed for all configurations, corresponding to known sites for aneurysmal formation. Uni and bi-directional cross-flows occurred along the communicating arteries. The greatest shunting of flow occurred for a missing pre-communicating anterior (A1) and posterior (P1) cerebral arteries. The anterior cerebral arteries had the greatest reduction (15-37%) in efferent flow rates for missing either a unilateral A1 or bilateral P1 segments. The bi-directional cross-flows, with multiple afferent flow mixing, observed along the communicating arteries may explain the propensity of aneurysm formation at these sites. Reductions in efferent flow rates due to aplastic vessel configurations may affect normal brain function.