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Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2012;15(3):231-48. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2010.522186. Epub 2011 May 24.

Biomechanical response of ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms: association with structural remodelling.

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Laboratory of Biomechanics, Foundation of Biomedical Research, Soranou Ephesiou 4, Athens 11527, Greece.


Ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms (ATAA) were resected from patients during graft replacement and non-aneurysmal vessels during autopsy. Tissues were histomechanically tested according to region and orientation, and the experimental recordings reduced with a Fung-type strain--energy function, affording faithful biomechanical characterisation of the vessel response. The material and rupture properties disclosed that ATAA and non-aneurysmal aorta were stiffer and stronger circumferentially, accounted by preferential collagen reinforcement. The deviation of microstructure in the right lateral region, with a longitudinal extracellular matrix and smooth muscle element sub-intimally, reflects the regional differences in material properties identified. ATAA had no effect on strength, but caused stiffening and extensibility reduction, corroborating our histological observation of deficient elastin but not collagen content. Our findings may serve as input data for the implementation of finite element models, to be used as improved surgical intervention criteria, and may further our understanding of the pathophysiology of ATAA and aortic dissection.

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