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Experimental foundation for in vivo measurement of the elasticity of the aorta in computed tomography angiography.

European journal of vascular and endovascular surgery : the official journal of the European Society for Vascular Surgery (2013-08-13)
M S Schlicht, K Khanafer, A Duprey, P Cronin, R Berguer
ABSTRACT

This study was performed to determine the feasibility of measuring the elastic properties of the arterial wall in vivo. To prove this concept, elastic parameters were calculated from an aortic model of elastic behavior similar to a human aorta using computed tomography angiography (CTA) images. We first constructed an aortic model from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). This model was inserted into a pulsatile flow loop. The model was then placed inside a computed tomography scanner. To estimate the elasticity values, we measured the cross-sectional area and the pressure changes in the model during each phase of the simulated cardiac cycle. A discrete wavelet transform (DWT) algorithm was applied to the CTA data to calculate the geometric changes in the pulsatile model over a simulated cardiac cycle for various pulsatile rates and elasticity values of the PDMS material. The elastic modulus of the aortic model wall was derived from these geometric changes. The elastic moduli derived from the CTA data were compared with those obtained by testing strips of the same PDMS material in a tensile testing machine. Our two aortic models had elastic values at both extremes of those found in normal human aortas. The results show a good comparison between the elastic values derived from the CTA data and those obtained in a tensile testing machine. In addition, the elasticity values were found to be independent of the pulsatile rate for mixing ratios of 6:1 and 9:1 (p = .12 and p = .22, respectively). The elastic modulus of a pulsatile aortic model may be measured by electrocardiographically-gated multi-detector CTA protocol. This preliminary study suggests the possibility of determining non-invasively the elastic properties of a living, functioning aorta using CTA data.

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