Intracranial atherosclerosis is a common cause of stroke with a high recurrence rate. Haemodynamically significant lesions are associated with a particularly high risk of recurrence. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a tool that has been investigated to identify haemodynamically significant lesions. CFD in the intracranial vasculature benefits from the precedent set by cardiology, where CFD is an established clinical tool. This precedent is particularly important in CFD as models are very heterogenous. There are many decisions-points in the model-creation process, usually involving a trade-off between computational expense and accuracy.
This study aimed to review published CFD models in intracranial atherosclerosis and compare them to those used in cardiology.
A systematic search for all published computational fluid dynamics models applied to intracranial atherosclerosis was performed. Each study was analysed as regards to the different steps in creating a fluid dynamics model and findings were compared with established cardiology CFD models.
38 papers were screened and 12 were included in the final analysis. There were important differences between coronary and intracranial atherosclerosis models in the following areas: area of interest segmented, use of transient models vs steady-state models, boundary conditions, methods for solving the fluid dynamics equations and validation. These differences may be high-yield areas to explore for future research.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.