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research-article

A Parameterized Ultrasound-Based Finite Element Analysis of the Mechanical Environment of Pregnancy

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrea R Westervelt

Department of Mechanical Engineering Columbia University New York, New York 10027
arw2181@columbia.edu

Michael Fernandez

Department of Mechanical Engineering Columbia University New York, New York 10027
mjf2152@columbia.edu

Michael House

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Tufts Medical Center Boston, MA 02111
mhouse@tuftsmedicalcenter.org

Joy Vink

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York 10032
jyv2101@cumc.columbia.edu

Chia-Ling Nhan-Chang

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York 10032
cn2281@cumc.columbia.edu

Ronald Wapner

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York 10032
rw2181@cumc.columbia.edu

Kristin M. Myers

Associate Professor, Member of ASME Department of Mechanical Engineering Columbia University New York, New York 10027
kmm2233@cumc.columbia.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036259 History: Received July 15, 2016; Revised March 03, 2017

Abstract

Preterm birth is the leading cause of childhood mortality, and can lead to health risks in survivors. The mechanical function of the uterus, fetal membranes, and cervix have dynamic roles to protect the fetus during gestation. To understand their mechanical function and relation to preterm birth, we built a 3-dimensional parameterized finite element model of pregnancy. This model is generated by an automated procedure that is informed by maternal ultrasound measurements. A baseline model at 25 weeks of gestation was characterized, and to visualize the impact of cervical structural parameters on tissue stretch we evaluated the model sensitivity to: (1) anterior uterocervical angle, (2) cervical length, (3) posterior cervical offset, and (4) cervical stiffness. We found that cervical tissue stretching is minimal when the cervical canal is aligned with the longitudinal uterine axis and a softer cervix is more sensitive to changes in the geometric variables tested.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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