BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Hemodynamics are thought to play a role in intracranial aneurysm growth and rupture. Computational fluid dynamics is frequently performed to assess intra-aneurysmal hemodynamics, using generalized flow waveforms of healthy volunteers as inflow boundary conditions. The purpose of this study was to assess differences in inflow conditions for different aneurysmal parent artery locations and variations of circle of Willis configurations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a series of 96 patients with 103 aneurysms, velocity measurements were acquired using 2D phase-contrast MR imaging perpendicular to the aneurysmal parent arteries in the circle of Willis. Circle of Willis configurations were inspected for variations using multiple overlapping thin-slab-acquisition MRAs. Flow rates, velocity magnitudes, and pulsatility indices were calculated for each parent artery location in subgroups of complete and incomplete circle of Willis configurations.
RESULTS: Flow rates, velocity magnitudes, and pulsatility indices were significantly different among aneurysmal parent arteries. Incomplete circle of Willis configurations were observed in 24% of the cases. Significantly lower basilar artery flow rates were observed in configurations with hypoplastic P1 segments. Significantly higher A1 flow rates were observed in configurations with a hypoplastic contralateral A1 segment.
CONCLUSIONS: Inflow conditions vary substantially between aneurysmal parent arteries and circle of Willis configurations. We have created a collection of parent artery-specific inflow conditions tailored to the patient-specific circle of Willis configuration that can be used in future computational fluid dynamics studies analyzing intra-aneurysmal hemodynamics.