Quantification of true lumen helical morphology and chirality in type B aortic dissections

Johan Bondesson, Ga Young Suh, Tórbjorn Lundh, Michael D. Dake, Jason T. Lee, Christopher P. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chirality is a fundamental property in many biological systems. Motivated by previous observations of helical aortic blood flow, aortic tissue fibers, and propagation of aortic dissections, we introduce methods to characterize helical morphology of aortic dissections. After validation on computer-generated phantoms, the methods were applied to patients with type B dissection. For this cohort, there was a distinct bimodal distribution of helical propagation of the dissection with either achiral or exclusively right-handed chirality, with no intermediate cases or left-handed cases. This clear grouping indicates that dissection propagation favors these two modes, which is potentially due to the right-handedness of helical aortic blood flow and cell orientation. The characterization of dissection chirality and quantification of helical morphology advances our understanding of dissection pathology and lays a foundation for applications in clinical research and treatment practice. For example, the chirality and magnitude of helical metrics of dissections may indicate risk of dissection progression, help define treatment and surveillance strategies, and enable development of novel devices that account for various helical morphologies. NEW & NOTEWORTHY A novel definition of helical propagation of type B aortic dissections reveals a distinct bimodality, with the true lumen being either achiral (nonhelical) or exclusively right-handed. This right-handed chirality is consistent with anatomic and physiological phenomena such as right-handed twist during left ventricle contraction, helical blood flow, and tissue fiber direction. The helical character of aortic dissections may be useful for pathology research, diagnostics, treatment selection, therapeutic durability prediction, and aortic device design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H901-H911
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Chirality
  • Helical angle
  • Helical radius
  • Helical twist
  • Type B dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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