Biomechanics of abdominal aortic aneurysm:Experimental evidence and multiscale constitutive modeling
Sammanfattning: The reliable assessment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) rupture risk is critically important in reducing related mortality without unnecessarily increasing the rate of elective repair. A multi-disciplinary approach including vascular biomechanics and constitutive modeling is needed to better understand and more effectively treat these diseases. AAAs are formed through irreversible pathological remodeling of the vascular wall and integrating this biological process in the constitutive description could improve the current understanding of this disease as well as the predictability of biomechanical simulations.First in this thesis, multiple centerline-based diameter measurements between renal arteries and aortic bifurcation have been used to monitor aneurysm growth of in total 51 patients from Computer Tomography-Angiography (CT-A) data. Secondly, the thesis proposes a novel multi-scale constitutive model for the vascular wall, where collagen fibers are assembled by proteoglycan cross-linked collagen fibrils and reinforce an otherwise isotropic matrix (elastin). Collagen fibrils are dynamically formed by a continuous stretch-mediated process, deposited in the current configuration and removed by a constant degradation rate. The micro-plane concept is then used for the Finite Element (FE) implementation of the constitutive model. Finally, histological slices from intra-luminal thrombus (ILT) tissue were analyzed using a sequence of automatic image processing steps. Derived microstructural data were used to define Representative Volume Elements (RVEs), which in turn allowed the estimation of microscopic material properties using the non-linear FE.The thesis showed that localized spots of fast diameter growth can be detected through multiple centerline-based diameter measurements all over the AAA sac. Consequently, this information might further reinforce the quality of aneurysm surveillance programs. The novel constitutive model proposed in the thesis has a strong biological motivation and provides an interface with biochemistry. Apart from modeling the tissue’s passive response, the presented model is helpful to predict saline feature of aneurysm growth and remodeling. Finally, the thesis provided novel microstructural and micromechanical data of ILT tissue, which is critically important to further explore the role of the ILT in aneurysm rupture.
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