Background: The decision to repair an asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is currently based on diameter (> or =5.5 cm) alone. However, aneurysms less than 5.5 cm do rupture while some reach greater than 5.5 cm without rupturing. Hence the need to predict the risk of rupture on an individual patient basis is important. This study aims to calculate and compare wall stress in ruptured and non-ruptured AAA.
Methods: The 3D geometries of AAA were derived from CT scans of 27 patients (12 ruptured and 15 non-ruptured). AAA geometry, systolic blood pressure and literature derived material properties, were utilised to calculate wall stress for individual AAA using finite element analysis.
Results: Peak wall stress was significantly higher in the ruptured AAA (mean 1.02 MPa) than the non-ruptured AAA (mean 0.62 MPa). In patients with an identifiable site of rupture on CT scan, the area of peak wall stress correlated with rupture site.
Conclusions: Peak wall stress can be calculated from routinely performed CT scans and may be a better predictor of risk of rupture than AAA diameter on an individual patient basis.