Gender, smoking, body size, and aneurysm geometry influence the biomechanical rupture risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms as estimated by finite element analysis

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Finite element analysis (FEA) has been suggested to be superior to maximal diameter measurements in predicting rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). Our objective was to investigate to what extent previously described rupture risk factors were associated with FEA-estimated rupture risk.


One hundred forty-six patients with an asymptomatic AAA of a 40- to 60-mm diameter were retrospectively identified and consecutively included. The patients' computed tomography angiograms were analyzed by FEA without (neutral) and with (specific) input of patient-specific mean arterial pressure (MAP), gender, family history, and age. The maximal wall stress/wall strength ratio was described as a rupture risk equivalent diameter (RRED), which translated this ratio into an average aneurysm diameter of corresponding rupture risk.


In multivariate linear regression, RREDneutral increased with female gender (3.7 mm; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13–7.3) and correlated with patient height (0.27 mm/cm; 95% CI, 0.11–0.43) and body surface area (BSA, 16 mm/m2; 95% CI, 8.3–24) and inversely with body mass index (BMI, −0.40 mm/kg m−2; 95% CI, −0.75 to −0.054) in a wall stress-dependent manner. Wall stress-adjusted RREDneutral was raised if the patient was currently smoking (1.1 mm; 95% CI, 0.21–1.9). Age, MAP, family history, and patient weight were unrelated to RREDneutral. In specific FEA, RREDspecific increased with female gender, MAP, family history positive for AAA, height, and BSA, whereas it was inversely related to BMI. All results were independent of aneurysm diameter. Peak wall stress and RRED correlated with aneurysm diameter and lumen volume.


Female gender, current smoking, increased patient height and BSA, and low BMI were found to increase the mechanical rupture risk of AAAs. Previously described rupture risk factors may in part be explained by patient characteristic-dependent variations in aneurysm biomechanics.

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