Failure properties and microstructure of healthy and aneurysmatic human thoracic aortas subjected to uniaxial extension with a focus on the media

Selda Mitatova Sherifova, Gerhard Sommer, Christian Viertler, Peter Regitnig, Thomas Caranasos, Margaret Anne Smith, Boyce E Griffith, Raymond W. Ogden, Gerhard Holzapfel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current clinical practice for aneurysmatic interventions is often based on the maximum diameter of the vessel and/or on the growth rate, although rupture can occur at any diameter and growth rate, leading to fatality. For 27 medial samples obtained from 12 non-aneurysmatic (control) and 9 aneurysmatic
human descending thoracic aortas we examined: the mechanical responses up to rupture using uniaxial extension tests of circumferential and longitudinal specimens; the structure of these tissues using
second-harmonic imaging and histology, in particular, the content proportions of collagen, elastic fibers and smooth muscle cells in the media. It was found that the mean failure stresses were higher in the circumferential directions (Control-C 1474 kPa; Aneurysmatic-C 1446 kPa), than in the longitudinal directions (Aneurysmatic-L 735 kPa; Control-L 579 kPa). This trend was the opposite to that observed for the mean collagen fiber directions measured from the loading axis (Control-L > Aneurysmatic-L > Aneurysmatic-
C > Control-C), thus suggesting that the trend in the failure stress can in part be attributed to the collagen architecture. The difference in the mean values of the out-of-plane dispersion in the radial/longitudinal plane between the control and aneurysmatic groups was significant. The difference in the mean values of
the mean fiber angle from the circumferential direction was also significantly different between the two groups. Most specimens showed delamination zones near the ruptured region in addition to ruptured collagen and elastic fibers. This study provides a basis for further studies on the microstructure and the
uniaxial failure properties of (aneurysmatic) arterial walls towards realistic modeling and prediction of tissue failure
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-456
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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