The association of wall mechanics and morphology: a case study of abdominal aortic aneurysm growth.

Research paper by Christopher B CB Washington, Judy J Shum, Satish C SC Muluk, Ender A EA Finol

Indexed on: 11 Nov '11Published on: 11 Nov '11Published in: Journal of biomechanical engineering


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential correlation between peak wall stress (PWS) and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) morphology and how it relates to aneurysm rupture potential. Using in-house segmentation and meshing software, six 3-dimensional (3D) AAA models from a single patient followed for 28 months were generated for finite element analysis. For the AAA wall, both isotropic and anisotropic materials were used, while an isotropic material was used for the intraluminal thrombus (ILT). These models were also used to calculate 36 geometric indices characteristic of the aneurysm morphology. Using least squares regression, seven significant geometric features (p < 0.05) were found to characterize the AAA morphology during the surveillance period. By means of nonlinear regression, PWS estimated with the anisotropic material was found to be highly correlated with three of these features: maximum diameter (r = 0.992, p = 0.002), sac volume (r = 0.989, p = 0.003) and diameter to diameter ratio (r = 0.947, p = 0.033). The correlation of wall mechanics with geometry is nonlinear and reveals that PWS does not increase concomitantly with aneurysm diameter. This suggests that a quantitative characterization of AAA morphology may be advantageous in assessing rupture risk.