Does anisotropy promote spatial uniformity of stent-delivered drug distribution in arterial tissue?

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In this article we investigate the role of anisotropic diffusion on the resulting arterial wall drug distribution following stent-based delivery. The arterial wall is known to exhibit anisotropic diffusive properties, yet many authors neglect this, and it is unclear what effect this simplification has on the resulting arterial wall drug concentrations. Firstly, we explore the justification for neglecting the curvature of the cylindrical arterial wall in favour of using a Cartesian coordinate system. We then proceed to consider three separate transport regimes (convection dominated, diffusion dominated, reaction dominated) based on the range of parameter values available in the literature. By comparing the results of a simple one-dimensional model with those of a fully three-dimensional numerical model, we demonstrate, perhaps surprisingly, that the anisotropic diffusion can promote the spatial uniformity of drug concentrations, and furthermore, that the simple analytical one-dimensional model is an excellent predictor of the three-dimensional numerical results. However, the level of uniformity and the time taken to reach a uniform concentration profile depends on the particular regime considered. Furthermore, the more uniform the profile, the better the agreement between the one-dimensional and three-dimensional models. We discuss the potential implications in clinical practice and in stent design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Early online date4 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015


  • mathematical modelling
  • anisotropic diffusion
  • drug delivery
  • biological tissue
  • drug-eluting stents


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