Biomechanical Indices for Rupture Risk Estimation in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

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Abstract

Purpose: To review the use of biomechanical indices for the estimation of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture risk, emphasizing their potential use in a clinical setting. Methods: A search of the PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Compendex databases was made up to June 2015 to identify articles involving biomechanical analysis of AAA rupture risk. Outcome variables [aneurysm diameter, peak wall stress (PWS), peak wall shear stress (PWSS), wall strain, peak wall rupture index (PWRI), and wall stiffness] were compared for asymptomatic intact AAAs vs symptomatic or ruptured AAAs. For quantitative analysis of the pooled data, a random effects model was used to calculate the standard mean differences (SMDs) with the 95% confidence interval (CI) for the biomechanical indices. Results: The initial database searches yielded 1894 independent articles of which 19 were included in the analysis. The PWS was significantly higher in the symptomatic/ruptured group, with a SMD of 1.11 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.26, p<0.001). Likewise, the PWRI was significantly higher in the ruptured or symptomatic group, with a SMD of 1.15 (95% CI 0.30 to 2.01, p=0.008). After adjustment for the aneurysm diameter, the PWS remained higher in the ruptured or symptomatic group, with a SMD of 0.85 (95% CI 0.46 to 1.23, p<0.001). Less is known of the wall shear stress and wall strain indices, as too few studies were available for analysis. Conclusion: Biomechanical indices are a promising tool in the assessment of AAA rupture risk as they incorporate several factors, including geometry, tissue properties, and patient-specific risk factors. However, clinical implementation of biomechanical AAA assessment remains a challenge owing to a lack of standardization.

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