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Int J Numer Method Biomed Eng. 2017 Dec;33(12). doi: 10.1002/cnm.2893. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

Potential biomechanical roles of risk factors in the evolution of thrombus-laden abdominal aortic aneurysms.

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Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
Department of Radiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) typically harbour an intraluminal thrombus (ILT), yet most prior computational models neglect biochemomechanical effects of thrombus on lesion evolution. We recently proposed a growth and remodelling model of thrombus-laden AAAs that introduced a number of new constitutive relations and associated model parameters. Because values of several of these parameters have yet to be elucidated by clinical data and could vary significantly from patient to patient, the aim of this study was to investigate the possible extent to which these parameters influence AAA evolution. Given that some of these parameters model potential effects of factors that influence the risk of rupture, this study also provides insight into possible roles of common risk factors on the natural history of AAAs. Despite geometrical limitations of a cylindrical domain, findings support current thought that smoking, hypertension, and female sex likely increase the risk of rupture. Although thrombus thickness is not a reliable risk factor for rupture, the model suggests that the presence of ILT may have a destabilizing effect on AAA evolution, consistent with histological findings from human samples. Finally, simulations support two hypotheses that should be tested on patient-specific geometries in the future. First, ILT is a potential source of the staccato enlargement observed in many AAAs. Second, ILT can influence rupture risk, positively or negatively, via competing biomechanical (eg, stress shielding) and biochemical (ie, proteolytic) effects. Although further computational and experimental studies are needed, the present findings highlight the importance of considering ILT when predicting aneurysmal enlargement and rupture risk.


discontinuous growth; hypertension; inflammation; remodelling; rupture; smoking

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