Research Papers

Investigation of the Observed Rupture Lines in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Using Crack Propagation Simulations

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Attarian, S. Xiao

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242

T. C. Chung

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242

E. S. da Silva

Department of Surgery,
School of Medicine,
University of São Paulo,
São Paulo, SP, Brazil

M. L. Raghavan

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242
e-mail: ml-raghavan@uiowa.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 11, 2018; final manuscript received May 29, 2019; published online June 13, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Victor H. Barocas.

J Biomech Eng 141(7), 071004 (Jun 13, 2019) (6 pages) Paper No: BIO-18-1532; doi: 10.1115/1.4043940 History: Received December 11, 2018; Revised May 29, 2019

The objective of the study is to use crack propagation simulation to study the rupture site characteristics in ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). In a study population of four ruptured AAA harvested whole from cadavers, the rupture lines were precisely documented. The wall properties such as thickness and material parameters were experimentally determined. Using subject-specific three-dimensional (3D) geometry and a finite elastic isotropic material model with subject-specific parameters, crack propagation simulations were conducted based on basic fracture mechanics principles to investigate if and how localized weak spots may have led to the rupture lines observed upon harvest of ruptured AAA. When an initial crack was imposed at the site of peak wall stress, the propagated path did not match the observed rupture line. This indicates that in this study population, the peak wall stress was unlikely to have caused the observed rupture. When cracks were initiated at random locations in the AAA along random orientations and for random initial lengths, the orientation of the resulting propagated rupture line was always longitudinal. This suggests that the AAA morphology predisposes the AAA to rupture longitudinally, which is consistent with observations. And finally, it was found that, in this study population, rupture may have initiated at short segments of less than 1 cm length that then propagated to the observed rupture lines. This finding provides some guidance for the spatial resolution (approx. 1 cm) of weak spots to investigate for in AAA during ex vivo experimental and in vivo elastography studies. The small study population and lack of a reliable failure model for AAA tissue make these findings preliminary.

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Fig. 1

Study population: four wholly harvested ruptured AAA. Shown under 100 mmHg inflation with a compliant balloon with the rupture line highlighted.

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Fig. 2

Illustration of crack propagation

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Fig. 3

Circumferential and longitudinal orientations of Initial cracks at the site of peak wall stress

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Fig. 4

(a) Illustration of initial cracks with various lengths along the observed rupture line. (b) Deviation angle is defined as the angle subtended between the best fit lines passing through the observed rupture line and the simulated crack propagated rupture line.

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Fig. 5

Simulated rupture propagation lines (white) compared to the observed rupture lines (black) after a small initial crack was placed circumferentially (left) or longitudinally (right) at the site of peak wall stress in each model

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Fig. 6

Cracks propagated longitudinally in AAA #1 (left; 2 views) and AAA #2 (right; 2 views) regardless of crack initiation location, orientation, and length

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Fig. 7

The simulated cracks (white) are compared to the actual rupture lines (black) in AAA #1. From left to right are shown some representative initial crack lengths (demarcated by black dots) of 0.73 mm, 2 mm, and 3.7 mm. Note that as the initial crack length increases, the deviation between the crack propagation simulated rupture line and the observed rupture line reduces.

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Fig. 8

The relationship between deviation angle, θd and the length of the initial crack placed at the center of the observed rupture line in the study population



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