Jacobs School of Engineering

Risk of Rupture of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Development of improved Radiological Predictions of the Risk of Rupture of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)

Grant Number: AMEJLVL

Funding Agency: Von Liebig Foundation


The research in AAA is seeking to improve the current capabilities of biomedical imaging techniques to better monitor the progression of the disease process by quantifying the spatial and temporal distribution of mechanical stresses acting on the vessel walls. Specifically it aims at developing a quantitative assessment of the risk of rupture of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA), and at providing improved guidelines for surgical or endovascular intervention. It involves the interdisciplinary, collaborative research of physicians specializing in radiology and vascular medicine, as well as engineers and computer scientists specializing in fluid mechanics, computational mechanics, mechanical behavior of elastic membranes, laser-based diagnostics of turbulent flows, computer-aided visualizations, and rapid prototyping manufacturing techniques. Our innovative method consists of using high resolution computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reconstruct a three-dimensional model of the arterial tree including the AAA. A finite-element computer code incorporating non-linear elastic effects and all physiological and mechanical information of the arterial wall, including the possible presence of intraluminal thrombus, has been developed to compute the distribution of stresses along the aneurysm's wall to provide information on the possible location of rupturing and a quantification of the risk of rupture.

The expected outcome of this study is the development of an interfacial software to be incorporated into radiology imaging devices which will compute the wall stress patterns at each stage during the cardiac cycle by making a combined use of all relevant measurable hemodynamic parameters of the patient (mean blood pressure, systolic and diastolic pressure, blood flow rate supply to the abdominal aorta), imaging information of the architecture of the vessel's and aneurysm's walls (shape, thickness, composition), and information of the mechanical properties of the wall tissue. The team includes William Bradley, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiology; David Benson, Professor at the Jacobs School; Thomas Kinney, Associate Clinical Professor of Radiology; and Javier Rodriguez a postdoc in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Related Papers

A-V. Salsac, S.R. Sparks and J.C. Lasheras. "Changes in Pressure and Wall Tension Occuring During Enlargement of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." Simplicity, Rigor and Relevance in Fluid Mechanics. Editors F.J. Higuera, J. Jimenez and J.M. Vega. CIMNE. Series on Theory and Engineering Applications of Computational Methods. Barcelona, Spain. (2004).

A-V. Salsac, S.R. Sparks and J.C. Lasheras. "Changes in Pressure and Wall Tension Occurring During the Enlargement of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." Journal of Vascular Surgery. Vol. 18 (1): pp. 14-21, Jan (2004).

A-V. Salsac, S.R. Sparks and J.C. Lasheras. "Hemodynamic Changes Occurring During the Progressive Enlargement of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." Annals of Vascular Surgery, Vol. 18(1), pp. 14-21, (2004).

PDFA-V. Salsac, S.R. Sparks, J.M. Chomaz and J.C. Lasheras. "Evolution of the Wall Shear Stresses during the Progressive Enlargement of Symmetric Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 560, pp. 19-51, (2006).

PDFJ.C. Lasheras. "The Biomechanics of Arterial Aneurysms." Annual Reviews of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 39, pp. 332-343, (2007).

PDFJ.C. Del Álamo, A. L. Marsden and J.C. Lasheras. "Recent Advances in the Application of Computational Mechanics to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease" Spanish Journal of Cardiology. Vol. 62 Issue: pp. 781-805, (2009).

PDFA-V. Salsac, R. Tang and J.C. Lasheras. "Influence of Hemodynamics on the Formation of an Intraluminal Thrombus in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." International Journal of Artificial Organs. Vol. 32. (7) pp. 397, (2009).

PDFJ.C. Lasheras. "Hemodynamic Stresses and the Onset and Progression of Vascular Diseases." Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Vol. 663, pp. 1-5, (2010).