Abstract

The risk of Type-A dissection is increased in subjects with connective tissue disorders and dilatation of the proximal aorta. The location and extents of vessel wall tears in these patients could be potentially missed during prospective imaging studies. The objective of the present study is to estimate the distribution of systolic wall stress in two exemplary cases of proximal dissection using finite element analysis (FEA) and evaluate the sensitivity of the distribution to the choice of anisotropic material model and root motion. FEA was performed for pre-dissection aortas, without prior knowledge of the origin and extents of vessel wall tear. The stress distribution was evaluated along the wall tear in the post-dissection aortas. The stress distribution was compared for the Fung and Holzapfel models with and without root motion. For the subject with spiral dissection, peak stress coincided with the origin of the tear in the sinotubular junction. For the case with root dissection, maximum stress was obtained at the distal end of the tear. The FEA predicted tear pressure was 20% higher for the subject with root dissection as compared to the case with spiral dissection. The predicted tear pressure was higher (9-11%) for root motions up to 10mm. The Holzapfel model predicted a tear pressure that was lower (8-15%) than the Fung model. The FEA results showed that both material response and root motion could potentially influence the predicted dissection pressure of the proximal aorta at least for conditions tested in this study.

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