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Could increased axial wall stress be responsible for the development of atheroma in the proximal segment of myocardial bridges?

Pierre-André Doriot*, Pierre-André Dorsaz and Jacques Noble

Author Affiliations

Cardiology Department, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland

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Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2007, 4:29  doi:10.1186/1742-4682-4-29

Published: 9 August 2007



A recent model describing the mechanical interaction between a stenosis and the vessel wall has shown that axial wall stress can considerably increase in the region immediately proximal to the stenosis during the (forward) flow phases, so that abnormal biological processes and wall damages are likely to be induced in that region. Our objective was to examine what this model predicts when applied to myocardial bridges.


The model was adapted to the hemodynamic particularities of myocardial bridges and used to estimate by means of a numerical example the cyclic increase in axial wall stress in the vessel segment proximal to the bridge. The consistence of the results with reported observations on the presence of atheroma in the proximal, tunneled, and distal vessel segments of bridged coronary arteries was also examined.


1) Axial wall stress can markedly increase in the entrance region of the bridge during the cardiac cycle. 2) This is consistent with reported observations showing that this region is particularly prone to atherosclerosis.


The proposed mechanical explanation of atherosclerosis in bridged coronary arteries indicates that angioplasty and other similar interventions will not stop the development of atherosclerosis at the bridge entrance and in the proximal epicardial segment if the decrease of the lumen of the tunneled segment during systole is not considerably reduced.