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J Endovasc Ther. 2011 Aug;18(4):559-68. doi: 10.1583/11-3472.1.

Computational analysis of stresses acting on intermodular junctions in thoracic aortic endografts.

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Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.



To evaluate the biomechanical and hemodynamic forces acting on the intermodular junctions of a multi-component thoracic endograft and elucidate their influence on the development of type III endoleak due to disconnection of stent-graft segments.


Three-dimensional computer models of the thoracic aorta and a 4-component thoracic endograft were constructed using postoperative (baseline) and follow-up computed tomography (CT) data from a 69-year-old patient who developed type III endoleak 4 years after stent-graft placement. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques were used to quantitate the displacement forces acting on the device. The contact stresses between the different modules of the graft were then quantified using computational solid mechanics (CSM) techniques. Lastly, the intermodular junction frictional stability was evaluated using a Coulomb model.


The CFD analysis revealed that curvature and length are key determinants of the displacement forces experienced by each endograft and that the first 2 modules were exposed to displacement forces acting in opposite directions in both the lateral and longitudinal axes. The CSM analysis revealed that the highest concentration of stresses occurred at the junction between the first and second modules of the device. Furthermore, the frictional analysis demonstrated that most of the surface area (53%) of this junction had unstable contact. The predicted critical zone of intermodular stress concentration and frictional instability matched the location of the type III endoleak observed in the 4-year follow-up CT image.


The region of larger intermodular stresses and highest frictional instability correlated with the zone where a type III endoleak developed 4 years after thoracic stent-graft placement. Computational techniques can be helpful in evaluating the risk of endograft migration and potential for modular disconnection and may be useful in improving device placement strategies and endograft design.

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