Review: the role of biomechanical modeling in the rupture risk assessment for abdominal aortic aneurysms

J Biomech Eng. 2013 Feb;135(2):021010. doi: 10.1115/1.4023254.


AAA disease is a serious condition and a multidisciplinary approach including biomechanics is needed to better understand and more effectively treat this disease. A rupture risk assessment is central to the management of AAA patients, and biomechanical simulation is a powerful tool to assist clinical decisions. Central to such a simulation approach is a need for robust and physiologically relevant models. Vascular tissue senses and responds actively to changes in its mechanical environment, a crucial tissue property that might also improve the biomechanical AAA rupture risk assessment. Specifically, constitutive modeling should not only focus on the (passive) interaction of structural components within the vascular wall, but also how cells dynamically maintain such a structure. In this article, after specifying the objectives of an AAA rupture risk assessment, the histology and mechanical properties of AAA tissue, with emphasis on the wall, are reviewed. Then a histomechanical constitutive description of the AAA wall is introduced that specifically accounts for collagen turnover. A test case simulation clearly emphasizes the need for constitutive descriptions that remodels with respect to the mechanical loading state. Finally, remarks regarding modeling of realistic clinical problems and possible future trends conclude the article.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / pathology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / physiopathology
  • Aortic Rupture* / pathology
  • Aortic Rupture* / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Risk Assessment