Research Papers

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041001-041001-10. doi:10.1115/1.4006339.

Drug-resistant hypertensive patients may be treated by mechanical stimulation of stretch-sensitive baroreceptors located in the sinus of carotid arteries. To evaluate the efficacy of endovascular devices to stretch the carotid sinus such that the induced strain might trigger baroreceptors to increase action potential firing rate and thereby reduce systemic blood pressure, numerical simulations were conducted of devices deployed in subject-specific carotid models. Two models were chosen—a typical physiologic carotid and a diminutive atypical physiologic model representing a clinically worst case scenario—to evaluate the effects of device deployment in normal and extreme cases, respectively. Based on the anatomical dimensions of the carotids, two different device sizes were chosen out of five total device sizes available. A fluid structure interaction (FSI) simulation methodology with contact surface between the device and the arterial wall was implemented for resolving the stresses and strains induced by device deployment. Results indicate that device deployment in the carotid sinus of the physiologic model induces an increase of 2.5% and 7.5% in circumferential and longitudinal wall stretch, respectively, and a maximum of 54% increase in von Mises arterial stress at the sinus wall baroreceptor region. The second device, deployed in the diminutive carotid model, induces an increase of 6% in both circumferential and longitudinal stretch and a 50% maximum increase in von Mises stress at the sinus wall baroreceptor region. Device deployment has a minimal effect on blood-flow patterns, indicating that it does not adversely affect carotid bifurcation hemodynamics in the physiologic model. In the smaller carotid model, deployment of the device lowers wall shear stress at sinus by 16% while accelerating flow entering the external carotid artery branch. Our FSI simulations of carotid arteries with deployed device show that the device induces localized increase in wall stretch at the sinus, suggesting that this will activate baroreceptors and subsequently may control hypertension in drug-resistant hypertensive patients, with no consequential deleterious effects on the carotid sinus hemodynamics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041002-041002-7. doi:10.1115/1.4005695.

Shoe-surface interface characteristics have been implicated in the high incidence of ankle injuries suffered by athletes. Yet, the differences in rotational stiffness among shoes may also influence injury risk. It was hypothesized that shoes with different rotational stiffness will generate different patterns of ankle ligament strain. Four football shoe designs were tested and compared in terms of rotational stiffness. Twelve (six pairs) male cadaveric lower extremity limbs were externally rotated 30 deg using two selected football shoe designs, i.e., a flexible shoe and a rigid shoe. Motion capture was performed to track the movement of the talus with a reflective marker array screwed into the bone. A computational ankle model was utilized to input talus motions for the estimation of ankle ligament strains. At 30 deg of rotation, the rigid shoe generated higher ankle joint torque at 46.2 ± 9.3 Nm than the flexible shoe at 35.4 ± 5.7 Nm. While talus rotation was greater in the rigid shoe (15.9 ± 1.6 deg versus 12.1 ± 1.0 deg), the flexible shoe generated more talus eversion (5.6 ± 1.5 deg versus 1.2± 0.8 deg). While these talus motions resulted in the same level of anterior deltoid ligament strain (approxiamtely 5%) between shoes, there was a significant increase of anterior tibiofibular ligament strain (4.5± 0.4% versus 2.3 ± 0.3%) for the flexible versus more rigid shoe design. The flexible shoe may provide less restraint to the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints, resulting in more eversion but less axial rotation of the talus during foot/shoe rotation. The increase of strain in the anterior tibiofibular ligament may have been largely due to the increased level of talus eversion documented for the flexible shoe. There may be a direct correlation of ankle joint torque with axial talus rotation, and an inverse relationship between torque and talus eversion. The study may provide some insight into relationships between shoe design and ankle ligament strain patterns. In future studies, these data may be useful in characterizing shoe design parameters and balancing potential ankle injury risks with player performance.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041003-041003-11. doi:10.1115/1.4006338.

Tumor blood-flow is inhomogeneous because of heterogeneity in tumor vasculature, vessel-wall leakiness, and compliance. Experimental studies have shown that normalization of tumor vasculature by antiangiogenic therapy can improve tumor microcirculation and enhance the delivery of therapeutic agents to tumors. To elucidate the quantitative relationship between the vessel-wall compliance and permeability and the blood-flow rate in the microvessels of the tumor tissue, the tumor tissue with the normalized vasculature, and the normal tissue, we developed a transport model to simultaneously predict the interstitial fluid pressure (IFP), interstitial fluid velocity (IFV) and the blood-flow rate in a counter-current microvessel loop, which occurs from anastomosis in tumor-induced angiogenesis during tumor growth. Our model predicts that although the vessel-wall leakiness greatly affects the IFP and IFV, it has a negligible effect on the intravascular driving force (pressure gradient) for both rigid and compliant vessels, and thus a negligible effect on the blood-flow rate if the vessel wall is rigid. In contrast, the wall compliance contributes moderately to the IFP and IFV, but significantly to the vessel radius and to the blood-flow rate. However, the combined effects of vessel leakiness and compliance can increase IFP, which leads to a partial collapse in the blood vessels and an increase in the flow resistance. Furthermore, our model predictions speculate a new approach for enhancing drug delivery to tumor by modulating the vessel-wall compliance in addition to reducing the vessel-wall leakiness and normalizing the vessel density.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041004-041004-7. doi:10.1115/1.4006538.

Crimp morphology is believed to be related to tendon mechanical behavior. While crimp has been extensively studied at slack or nondescript load conditions in tendon, few studies have examined crimp at specific, quantifiable loading conditions. Additionally, the effect of the number of cycles of preconditioning on collagen fiber crimp behavior has not been examined. Further, the dependence of collagen fiber crimp behavior on location and developmental age has not been examined in the supraspinatus tendon. Local collagen fiber crimp frequency is quantified throughout tensile mechanical testing using a flash freezing method immediately following the designated loading protocol. Samples are analyzed quantitatively using custom software and semi-quantitatively using a previously established method to validate the quantitative software. Local collagen fiber crimp frequency values are compared throughout the mechanical test to determine where collagen fiber frequency changed. Additionally, the effect of the number of preconditioning cycles is examined compared to the preload and toe-region frequencies to determine if increasing the number of preconditioning cycles affects crimp behavior. Changes in crimp frequency with age and location are also examined. Decreases in collagen fiber crimp frequency were found at the toe-region at all ages. Significant differences in collagen fiber crimp frequency were found between the preload and after preconditioning points at 28 days. No changes in collagen fiber crimp frequency were found between locations or between 10 and 28 days old. Local collagen fiber crimp frequency throughout mechanical testing in a postnatal developmental mouse SST model was measured. Results confirmed that the uncrimping of collagen fibers occurs primarily in the toe-region and may contribute to the tendon’s nonlinear behavior. Additionally, results identified changes in collagen fiber crimp frequency with an increasing number of preconditioning cycles at 28 days, which may have implications on the measurement of mechanical properties and identifying a proper reference configuration.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041005-041005-13. doi:10.1115/1.4006403.

A detailed 3D anatomical model of the patellofemoral joint was developed to study the tracking, force, contact and stability characteristics of the joint. The quadriceps was considered to include six components represented by 15 force vectors. The patellar tendon was modeled using four bundles of viscoelastic tensile elements. Each of the lateral and medial retinaculum was modeled by a three-bundle nonlinear spring. The femur and patella were considered as rigid bodies with their articular cartilage layers represented by an isotropic viscoelastic material. The geometrical and tracking data needed for model simulation, as well as validation of its results, were obtained from an in vivo experiment, involving MR imaging of a normal knee while performing isometric leg press against a constant 140 N force. The model was formulated within the framework of a rigid body spring model and solved using forth-order Runge-Kutta, for knee flexion angles between zero and 50 degrees. Results indicated a good agreement between the model predictions for patellar tracking and the experimental results with RMS deviations of about 2 mm for translations (less than 0.7 mm for patellar mediolateral shift), and 4 degrees for rotations (less than 3 degrees for patellar tilt). The contact pattern predicted by the model was also consistent with the results of the experiment and the literature. The joint contact force increased linearly with progressive knee flexion from 80 N to 210 N. The medial retinaculum experienced a peak force of 18 N at full extension that decreased with knee flexion and disappeared entirely at 20 degrees flexion. Analysis of the patellar time response to the quadriceps contraction suggested that the muscle activation most affected the patellar shift and tilt. These results are consistent with the recent observations in the literature concerning the significance of retinaculum and quadriceps in the patellar stability.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041006-041006-8. doi:10.1115/1.4006404.

Fluid flow back along the outer surface of a needle (backflow) can be a significant problem during the direct infusion of drugs into brain tissues for procedures such as convection-enhanced delivery (CED). This study evaluates the effects of needle insertion speed (0.2 and 1.8 mm/s) as well as needle diameter and flow rate on the extent of backflow and local damage to surrounding tissues. Infusion experiments were conducted on a transparent tissue phantom, 0.6% (w/v) agarose hydrogel, to visualize backflow. Needle insertion experiments were also performed to evaluate local damage at the needle tip and to back out the prestress in the surrounding media for speed conditions where localized damage was not excessive. Prestress values were then used in an analytical model of backflow. At the higher insertion speed (1.8 mm/s), local insertion damage was found to be reduced and backflow was decreased. The compressive prestress at the needle-tissue interface was estimated to be approximately constant (0.812 kPa), and backflow distances were similar regardless of needle gauge (22, 26, and 32 gauge). The analytical model underestimated backflow distances at low infusion flow rates and overestimated backflow at higher flow rates. At the lower insertion speed (0.2 mm/s), significant backflow was measured. This corresponded to an observed accumulation of material at the needle tip which produced a gap between the needle and the surrounding media. Local tissue damage was also evaluated in excised rat brain tissues, and insertion tests show similar rate-dependent accumulation of tissue at the needle tip at the lower insertion speed. These results indicate that local tissue damage and backflow may be avoided by using an appropriate insertion speed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041007-041007-10. doi:10.1115/1.4006466.

The driving force that causes enlargement of the ventricles remains unclear in case of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Both healthy and NPH brain conditions are characterized by a low transparenchymal pressure drop, typically 1 mm Hg. The present paper proposes an analytical model for normal and NPH brains using Darcy’s and Biot’s equations and simplifying the brain geometry to a hollow sphere with an internal and external radius. Self-consistent solutions for the large deformation problem that is associated with large ventricle dilation are presented and the notion of equilibrium or stable ventricle position is highlighted for both healthy and NPH conditions. The influence of different biomechanical parameters on the stable ventricle geometry is assessed and it is shown that both CSF seepage through the ependyma and parenchymal permeability play a key role. Although very simple, the present model is able to predict the onset and development of NPH conditions as a deviation from healthy conditions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):041008-041008-5. doi:10.1115/1.4006341.

We designed and validated a novel device for applying flexion-extension cycles to a rat knee in an in vivo model of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R). Our device is intended to simulate rehabilitation motion and exercise post ACL-R to optimize physical rehabilitation treatments for the improved healing of tendon graft ligament reconstructions. The device was validated for repeatability of the knee kinematic motion by measuring the force versus angular rotation response from repeated trials using cadaver rats. The average maximum force required for rotating an ACL reconstructed rat knee through 100 degrees of flexion-extension was 0.4 N with 95% variability for all trials within ±0.1 N.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(4):044501-044501-6. doi:10.1115/1.4006428.

A challenge to the development of pediatric ventricular assist devices (PVADs) is the use of the aortic cannulae attached to the devices. Cannulae used for pediatric application have small diameters and large pressure drops. Furthermore, during the development of the 12cc Penn State pediatric PVAD, particle image velocimetry (PIV) illustrated that hematocrit levels, through changes in blood viscoelasticity, affected the fluid dynamics. The objective of this study is to compare the fluid dynamics of a pediatric viscoelastic blood analog and a goat viscoelastic blood analog within the PVAD aortic cannula. Two acrylic models were manufactured to model the aortic cannula (6 mm and 8 mm diameters). PIV data was collected to examine the flow at the outlet of the VAD and in the aortic cannula at heart rates of 50 and 75 beats per minute (bpm). Three planes of data were taken, one at the centerline and two 1.5 mm above and below the centerline. Three more planes of data were taken orthogonal to the original planes. While a 75 bpm heart rate was used to represent normal operating conditions, a 50 bpm heart rate represented use of the PVAD during weaning. At 75 bpm, differences were evident between the two different fluids and the two models. Separation zones developed in the plane below the centerline for the higher hematocrit pediatric blood analog. This study raises question to the usefulness of animal testing results in regard to how well they predict the outcome of pediatric patients.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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