Uniaxial tensile testing approaches for characterisation of atherosclerotic plaques

M.T. Walsh*, E.M. Cunnane, J.J. Mulvihill, A.C. Akyildiz, F.J.H. Gijsen, Gerhard Holzapfel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathological changes associated with the development of atherosclerotic plaques within arterial vessels result in significant alterations to the mechanical properties of the diseased arterial wall. There are several methods available to characterise the mechanical behaviour of atherosclerotic plaque tissue, and it is the aim of this paper to review the use of uniaxial mechanical testing. In the case of atherosclerotic plaques, there are nine studies that employ uniaxial testing to characterise mechanical behaviour. A primary concern regarding this limited cohort of published studies is the wide range of testing techniques that are employed. These differing techniques have resulted in a large variance in the reported data making comparison of the mechanical behaviour of plaques from different vasculatures, and even the same vasculature, difficult and sometimes impossible. In order to address this issue, this paper proposes a more standardised protocol for uniaxial testing of diseased arterial tissue that allows for better comparisons and firmer conclusions to be drawn between studies. To develop such a protocol, this paper reviews the acquisition and storage of the tissue, the testing approaches, the post-processing techniques and the stress–strain measures employed by each of the nine studies. Future trends are also outlined to establish the role that uniaxial testing can play in the future of arterial plaque mechanical characterisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-804
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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