Research Papers

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111001-111001-10. doi:10.1115/1.4007746.

Although deployed in the vasculature to expand vessel diameter and improve blood flow, protruding stent struts can create complex flow environments associated with flow separation and oscillating shear gradients. Given the association between magnitude and direction of wall shear stress (WSS) and endothelial phenotype expression, accurate representation of stent-induced flow patterns is critical if we are to predict sites susceptible to intimal hyperplasia. Despite the number of stents approved for clinical use, quantification on the alteration of hemodynamic flow parameters associated with the Gianturco Z-stent is limited in the literature. In using experimental and computational models to quantify strut-induced flow, the majority of past work has assumed blood or representative analogs to behave as Newtonian fluids. However, recent studies have challenged the validity of this assumption. We present here the experimental quantification of flow through a Gianturco Z-stent wire in representative Newtonian and non-Newtonian blood analog environments using particle image velocimetry (PIV). Fluid analogs were circulated through a closed flow loop at physiologically appropriate flow rates whereupon PIV snapshots were acquired downstream of the wire housed in an acrylic tube with a diameter characteristic of the carotid artery. Hemodynamic parameters including WSS, oscillatory shear index (OSI), and Reynolds shear stresses (RSS) were measured. Our findings show that the introduction of the stent wire altered downstream hemodynamic parameters through a reduction in WSS and increases in OSI and RSS from nonstented flow. The Newtonian analog solution of glycerol and water underestimated WSS while increasing the spatial coverage of flow reversal and oscillatory shear compared to a non-Newtonian fluid of glycerol, water, and xanthan gum. Peak RSS were increased with the Newtonian fluid, although peak values were similar upon a doubling of flow rate. The introduction of the stent wire promoted the development of flow patterns that are susceptible to intimal hyperplasia using both Newtonian and non-Newtonian analogs, although the magnitude of sites affected downstream was appreciably related to the rheological behavior of the analog. While the assumption of linear viscous behavior is often appropriate in quantifying flow in the largest arteries of the vasculature, the results presented here suggest this assumption overestimates sites susceptible to hyperplasia and restenosis in flow characterized by low and oscillatory shear.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111002-111002-9. doi:10.1115/1.4007823.

Measurement of forces of mono- and bi-articular muscles of an entire intact muscle compartment can allow for a comprehensive assessment of the effects of Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) both at and beyond the injection site, and in conditions close to those in vivo. The goal was to test the hypotheses that BTX-A affects (1) the forces of not only the injected but also the noninjected muscles of the compartment, and (2) epimuscular myofascial force transmission (EMFT). Two groups of Wistar rats were tested: Control (no BTX-A injected) and BTX (0.1 units of BTX-A were injected exclusively to the mid-belly of TA). Isometric forces were measured simultaneously at the distal tendons of the tibialis anterior (TA) at different lengths, the restrained extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and the extensor hallucis longus (EHL) muscles and at the proximal tendon of EDL. Five days post-injection, BTX-A did affect the total forces of all muscles significantly: (1) The TA force decreased differentially (by 46.6%–55.9%) for most lengths such that a significant negative correlation was found between force reductions and increased muscle length. The maximum TA force decreased by 47.3%. However, the muscle’s length range of force production did not change significantly. (2) Distal and proximal EDL forces decreased (on average by 67.8% and 62.9%, respectively). (3) The EHL force also decreased (on average by 9.2%). The passive forces of only the TA showed a significant increase at higher lengths. EMFT effects were shown for the control group: (1) at the shortest TA lengths, the EDL proximo-distal force differences were in favor of the distal force, which was reversed at higher lengths. (2) the EHL force measured at the shortest TA length decreased (by 34%) as a function of TA lengthening. After BTX-A exposure, such EMFT effects disappeared for the EDL, whereas they remained as profound for the EHL. Exposure to BTX-A does affect forces of all muscles operating in an intact compartment. For the BTX-A injected muscle, the reduction in muscle force becomes less pronounced at higher muscle lengths. BTX-A also has effects on EMFT, however, these effects are not uniform within the anterior crural compartment. Decreased forces of the noninjected synergistic muscles suggest the presence of unintended additional effects of BTX-A both for the targeted distal joint and for the nontargeted proximal joint.

Topics: Force , Muscle
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111003-111003-7. doi:10.1115/1.4007628.

Embryo transfer (ET) is the last manual intervention after extracorporeal fertilization. After the ET procedure is completed, the embryos are conveyed in the uterus for another two to four days due to spontaneous uterine peristalsis until the window time for implantation. The role of intrauterine fluid flow patterns in transporting the embryos to their implantation site during and after ET was simulated by injection of a liquid bolus into a two-dimensional liquid-filled channel with a closed fundal end via a liquid-filled catheter inserted in the channel. Numerical experiments revealed that the intrauterine fluid field and the embryos transport pattern were strongly affected by the closed fundal end. The embryos re-circulated in small loops around the vicinity where they were deposited from the catheter. The transport pattern was controlled by the uterine peristalsis factors, such as amplitude and frequency of the uterine walls motility, as well as the synchronization between the onset of catheter discharge and uterine peristalsis. The outcome of ET was also dependent on operating parameters such as placement of the catheter tip within the uterine cavity and the delivery speed of the catheter load. In conclusion, this modeling study highlighted important parameters that should be considered during ET procedures in order to increase the potential for pregnancy success.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111004-111004-7. doi:10.1115/1.4007748.

Scaffold-based tissue-engineered constructs as well as cell-free implants offer promising solutions to focal cartilage lesions. However, adequate mechanical stability of these implants in the lesion is required for successful repair. Fibrin is the most common clinically available adhesive for cartilage implant fixation, but fixation quality using fibrin is not well understood. The objectives of this study were to investigate the conditions leading to damage in the fibrin adhesive and to determine which adhesive properties are important in preventing delamination at the interface. An idealized finite element model of the medial compartment of the knee was created, including a circular defect and an osteochondral implant. Damage and failure of fibrin at the interface was represented by a cohesive zone model with coefficients determined from an inverse finite element method and previously published experimental data. Our results demonstrated that fibrin glue alone may not be strong enough to withstand physiologic loads in vivo while fibrin glue combined with chondrocytes more effectively prevents damage at the interface. The results of this study suggest that fibrin fails mainly in shear during off-axis loading and that adhesive materials that are stronger or more compliant than fibrin may be good alternatives due to decreased failure at the interface. The present model may be used to improve design and testing protocols of bioadhesives and give insight into the failure mechanisms of cartilage implant fixation in the knee joint.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111005-111005-10. doi:10.1115/1.4007824.

Unilateral below-knee amputees develop abnormal gait characteristics that include bilateral asymmetries and an elevated metabolic cost relative to non-amputees. In addition, long-term prosthesis use has been linked to an increased prevalence of joint pain and osteoarthritis in the intact leg knee. To improve amputee mobility, prosthetic feet that utilize elastic energy storage and return (ESAR) have been designed, which perform important biomechanical functions such as providing body support and forward propulsion. However, the prescription of appropriate design characteristics (e.g., stiffness) is not well-defined since its influence on foot function and important in vivo biomechanical quantities such as metabolic cost and joint loading remain unclear. The design of feet that improve these quantities could provide considerable advancements in amputee care. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to couple design optimization with dynamic simulations of amputee walking to identify the optimal foot stiffness that minimizes metabolic cost and intact knee joint loading. A musculoskeletal model and distributed stiffness ESAR prosthetic foot model were developed to generate muscle-actuated forward dynamics simulations of amputee walking. Dynamic optimization was used to solve for the optimal muscle excitation patterns and foot stiffness profile that produced simulations that tracked experimental amputee walking data while minimizing metabolic cost and intact leg internal knee contact forces. Muscle and foot function were evaluated by calculating their contributions to the important walking subtasks of body support, forward propulsion and leg swing. The analyses showed that altering a nominal prosthetic foot stiffness distribution by stiffening the toe and mid-foot while making the ankle and heel less stiff improved ESAR foot performance by offloading the intact knee during early to mid-stance of the intact leg and reducing metabolic cost. The optimal design also provided moderate braking and body support during the first half of residual leg stance, while increasing the prosthesis contributions to forward propulsion and body support during the second half of residual leg stance. Future work will be directed at experimentally validating these results, which have important implications for future designs of prosthetic feet that could significantly improve amputee care.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):111006-111006-8. doi:10.1115/1.4007745.

The viscoelastic behavior of tendons has been extensively studied in vitro. A noninvasive method by which to acquire mechanical data would be highly beneficial, as it could lead to the collection of viscoelastic data in vivo. Our lab has previously presented acoustoelasticity as an alternative ultrasound-based method of measuring tendon stress and strain by reporting a relationship between ultrasonic echo intensity (B mode ultrasound image brightness) and mechanical behavior of tendon under pseudoelastic in vitro conditions [Duenwald, S., Kobayashi, H., Frisch, K., Lakes, R., and Vanderby Jr, R., 2011, “Ultrasound Echo is Related to Stress and Strain in Tendon,” J. Biomech., 44 (3), pp. 424–429]. Viscoelastic properties of the tendons were not examined in that study, so the presence of time-dependent echo intensity changes has not been verified. In this study, porcine flexor tendons were subjected to relaxation and cyclic testing while ultrasonic echo response was recorded. We report that time- and strain history-dependent mechanical properties during viscoelastic testing are manifested in ultrasonic echo intensity changes. We also report that the patterns of the echo intensity changes do not directly mimic the patterns of viscoelastic load changes, but the intensity changed in a repeatable (and therefore predictable) fashion. Although mechanisms need further elucidation, viscoelastic behavior can be anticipated from echo intensity changes. This phenomenon could potentially lead to a more extensive characterization of in vivo tissue behavior.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):114501-114501-8. doi:10.1115/1.4007630.

Finite element (FE) models of articular joint structures do not typically implement the fully nonlinear viscoelastic behavior of the soft connective tissue components. Instead, contemporary whole joint FE models usually represent the transient soft tissue behavior with significantly simplified formulations that are computationally tractable. The resultant fidelity of these models is greatly compromised with respect to predictions under temporally varying static and dynamic loading regimes. In addition, models based upon experimentally derived nonlinear viscoelastic coefficients that do not account for the transient behavior during the loading event(s) may further reduce the model’s predictive accuracy. The current study provides the derivation and validation of a novel, phenomenological nonlinear viscoelastic formulation (based on the single integral nonlinear superposition formulation) that can be directly inputted into FE algorithms. This formulation and an accompanying experimental characterization technique, which incorporates relaxation manifested during the loading period of stress relaxation experiments, is compared to a previously published characterization method and validated against an independent analytical model. The results demonstrated that the static and dynamic FE approximations are in good agreement with the analytical solution. Additionally, the predictive accuracy of these approximations was observed to be highly dependent upon the experimental characterization technique. It is expected that implementation of the novel, computationally tractable nonlinear viscoelastic formulation and associated experimental characterization technique presented in the current study will greatly improve the predictive accuracy of the individual connective tissue components for whole joint FE simulations subjected to static and dynamic loading regimes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):114502-114502-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007747.

Pulse wave imaging (PWI) is an ultrasound-based method for noninvasive characterization of arterial stiffness based on pulse wave propagation. Reliable numerical models of pulse wave propagation in normal and pathological aortas could serve as powerful tools for local pulse wave analysis and a guideline for PWI measurements in vivo. The objectives of this paper are to (1) apply a fluid-structure interaction (FSI) simulation of a straight-geometry aorta to confirm the Moens-Korteweg relationship between the pulse wave velocity (PWV) and the wall modulus, and (2) validate the simulation findings against phantom and in vitro results. PWI depicted and tracked the pulse wave propagation along the abdominal wall of canine aorta in vitro in sequential Radio-Frequency (RF) ultrasound frames and estimates the PWV in the imaged wall. The same system was also used to image multiple polyacrylamide phantoms, mimicking the canine measurements as well as modeling softer and stiffer walls. Finally, the model parameters from the canine and phantom studies were used to perform 3D two-way coupled FSI simulations of pulse wave propagation and estimate the PWV. The simulation results were found to correlate well with the corresponding Moens-Korteweg equation. A high linear correlation was also established between PWV2 and E measurements using the combined simulation and experimental findings (R2  = 0.98) confirming the relationship established by the aforementioned equation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):114503-114503-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007749.

Knowledge of the distributions of cervical-spine curvature is needed for computational studies of cervical-spine injury in motor-vehicle crashes. Many methods of specifying spinal curvature have been proposed, but they often involve qualitative assessment or a large number of parameters. The objective of this study was to develop a quantitative method of characterizing cervical-spine curvature using a small number of parameters. 180 sagittal X-rays of subjects seated in automotive posture with their necks in neutral, flexed, and extended postures were collected in the early 1970s. Subjects were selected to represent a range of statures and ages for each gender. X-rays were reanalyzed using advanced technology and statistical methods. Coordinates of the posterior margins of the vertebral bodies and dens were digitized. Bézier splines were fit through the coordinates of these points. The interior control points that define the spline curvature were parameterized as a vector angle and length. By defining the length as a function of the angle, cervical-spine curvature was defined with just two parameters: superior and inferior Bézier angles. A classification scheme was derived to sort each curvature by magnitude and type of curvature (lordosis versus S-shaped versus kyphosis; inferior or superior location). Cervical-spine curvature in an automotive seated posture varies with gender and age but not stature. Average values of superior and inferior Bézier angles for cervical spines in flexion, neutral, and extension automotive postures are presented for each gender and age group. Use of Bézier splines fit through posterior margins offers a quantitative method of characterizing cervical-spine curvature using two parameters: superior and inferior Bézier angles.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Design Innovation Paper

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):115001-115001-7. doi:10.1115/1.4007822.

The success of total knee arthroplasty depends, in part, on the ability of the surgeon to properly manage the soft tissues surrounding the joint, but an objective definition as to what constitutes acceptable postoperative joint stability does not exist. Such a definition may not exist due to lack of suitable instrumentation, as joint stability is currently assessed by visual inspection while the surgeon manipulates the joint. Having the ability to accurately and precisely measure knee stability at the time of surgery represents a key requirement in the process of objectively defining acceptable joint stability. Therefore, we created a novel sterilizable device to allow surgeons to measure varus-valgus, internal-external, or anterior-posterior stability of the knee during a total knee arthroplasty. The device can be quickly adjusted between 0 deg and 90 deg of knee flexion. The device interfaces with a custom surgical navigation system, which records the resultant rotations or translations of the knee while the surgeon applies known loads to a patient’s limb with a handle instrumented with a load cell. We validated the performance of the device by having volunteers use it to apply loads to a mechanical linkage that simulated a knee joint; we then compared the joint moments calculated by our stability device against those recorded by a load cell in the simulated knee joint. Validation of the device showed low mean errors (less than 0.21 ± 1.38 Nm and 0.98 ± 3.93 N) and low RMS errors (less than 1.5 Nm and 5 N). Preliminary studies from total knee arthroplasties performed on ten cadaveric specimens also demonstrate the utility of our new device. Eventually, the use of this device may help determine how intra-operative knee stability relates to postoperative function and could lead to an objective definition of knee stability and more efficacious surgical techniques.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(11):117001-117001-1. doi:10.1115/1.4007829.

The order of authorship in the publication is incorrect. The correct author sequence is given below.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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