Abdominal aortic aneurysm risk of rupture: Patient-specific FSI simulations using anisotropic model

Peter Rissland, Yared Alemu, Shmuel Einav, John Ricotta, Danny Bluestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture represents a major cardiovascular risk, combining complex vascular mechanisms weakening the abdominal artery wall coupled with hemodynamic forces exerted on the arterial wall. At present, a reliable method to predict AAA rupture is not available. Recent studies have introduced fluid structure interaction (FSI) simulations using isotropic wall properties to map regions of stress concentrations developing in the aneurismal wall as a much better alternative to the current clinical criterion, which is based on the AAA diameter alone. A new anisotropic material model of AAA that closely matches observed biomechanical AAA material properties was applied to FSI simulations of patient-specific AAA geometries in order to develop a more reliable predictor for its risk of rupture. Each patient-specific geometry was studied with and without an intraluminal thrombus (ILT) using two material models - the more commonly used isotropic material model and an anisotropic material model - to delineate the ILT contribution and the dependence of stress distribution developing within the aneurismal wall on the material model employed. Our results clearly indicate larger stress values for the anisotropic material model and a broader range of stress values as compared to the isotropic material, indicating that the latter may underestimate the risk of rupture. While the locations of high and low stresses are consistent in both material models, the differences between the anisotropic and isotropic models become pronounced at large values of strain - a range that becomes critical when the AAA risk of rupture is imminent. As the anisotropic model more closely matches the biomechanical behavior of the AAA wall and resolves directional strength ambiguities, we conclude that it offers a more reliable predictor of AAA risk of rupture.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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