Porohyperelastic finite element modeling of abdominal aortic aneurysms

Avinash Ayyalasomayajula, Jonathan P.Vande Geest, Bruce R. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is the gradual weakening and dilation of the infrarenal aorta. This disease is progressive, asymptomatic, and can eventually lead to rupture—a catastrophic event leading to massive internal bleeding and possibly death. The mechanical environment present in AAA is currently thought to be important in disease initiation, progression, and diagnosis. In this study, we utilize porohyperelastic (PHE) finite element models (FEMs) to investigate how such modeling can be used to better understand the local biomechanical environment in AAA. A 3D hypothetical AAA was constructed with a preferential anterior bulge assuming both the intraluminal thrombus (ILT) and the AAA wall act as porous materials. A parametric study was performed to investigate how physiologically meaningful variations in AAA wall and ILT hydraulic permeabilities affect luminal interstitial fluid velocities and wall stresses within an AAA. A corresponding hyperelastic (HE) simulation was also run in order to be able to compare stress values between PHE and HE simulations. The effect of AAA size on local interstitial fluid velocity was also investigated by simulating maximum diameters (5.5 cm, 4.5 cm, and 3.5 cm) at the baseline values of ILT and AAA wall permeability. Finally, a cyclic PHE simulation was utilized to study the variation in local fluid velocities as a result of a physiologic pulsatile blood pressure. While the ILT hydraulic permeability was found to have minimal affect on interstitial velocities, our simulations demonstrated a 28% increase and a 20% decrease in luminal interstitial fluid velocity as a result of a 1 standard deviation increase and decrease in AAA wall hydraulic permeability, respectively. Peak interstitial velocities in all simulations occurred on the luminal surface adjacent to the region of maximum diameter. These values increased with increasing AAA size. PHE simulations resulted in 19.4%, 40.1%, and 81.0% increases in peak maximum principal wall stresses in comparison to HE simulations for maximum diameters of 35 mm, 45 mm, and 55 mm, respectively. The pulsatile AAA PHE FEM demonstrated a complex interstitial fluid velocity field the direction of which alternated in to and out of the luminal layer of the ILT. The biomechanical environment within both the aneurysmal wall and the ILT is involved in AAA pathogenesis and rupture. Assuming these tissues to be porohyperelastic materials may provide additional insight into the complex solid and fluid forces acting on the cells responsible for aneurysmal remodeling and weakening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Aneurysm
  • Finite element model
  • Permeability
  • Porohyperelastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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