A poroelastic fluid/structure-interaction model of cerebrospinal fluid dynamics in the cord with syringomyelia and adjacent subarachnoid-space stenosis

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An existing axisymmetric fluid/structure-interaction model of the spinal cord, pia mater, subarachnoid space and dura mater in the presence of syringomyelia and subarachnoid space stenosis was modified to include porous solids. This allowed investigation of a hypothesis for syrinx fluid ingress from cerebrospinal fluid. Gross model deformation was unchanged by the addition of porosity, but pressure oscillated more in the syrinx and the subarachnoid space below the stenosis. The poroelastic model still exhibited elevated mean pressure in the subarachnoid space below the stenosis, and in the syrinx. With realistic cord permeability, there was slight oscillatory shunt flow bypassing the stenosis via the porous tissue over the syrinx. Weak steady streaming flow occurred in a circuit involving craniocaudal flow through the stenosis and back via the syrinx. Mean syrinx volume was scarcely altered when the adjacent stenosis bisected the syrinx, but increased slightly when the syrinx was predominantly located caudal to the stenosis. The fluid content of the tissues over the syrinx oscillated, absorbing most of the radial flow seeping from the subarachnoid space so that it did not reach the syrinx. To a lesser extent, this cyclic swelling in a boundary layer of cord tissue just below the pia occurred all along the cord, representing a mechanism for exchange of interstitial fluid and cerebrospinal fluid which could explain recent tracer findings without invoking perivascular conduits. The model demonstrates that syrinx volume increase is possible when there is subarachnoid space stenosis and the cord and pia are permeable.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number011001
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2016