There is a need to understand why and where the abdominal aortic aneurysm may rupture. Our goal therefore is to investigate whether the mechanical properties are different in different regions of the aneurysm. Aorta samples from five freshly excised whole aneurysms, > or = 5 cm in diameter, from five patients, average age 71 +/- 10 years, were subjected to uniaxial testing. We report the wall thickness, yield stress and strain, and parameters that describe nonlinear stress-strain curves for the anterior, lateral and posterior regions of the aneurysm. The posterior region was thicker than the anterior region (2.73 +/- 0.46 mm versus 2.09 +/- 0.51 mm). The stress-strain curves were described by sigma = a epsilon(b), where sigma is true stress and epsilon is engineering strain. In the circumferential direction, the wall stiffness increased from posterior to anterior to lateral. In the longitudinal direction, the lateral and anterior regions showed greater wall stiffness than the posterior region. The wall stiffness was greater in the circumferential than longitudinal direction. The anterior region was the weakest, especially in the longitudinal direction (yield stress sigmaY = 0.38 +/- 0.18 N mm(-2)). For a less complex model the aneurysmal wall could be considered orthotropic with sigma = 12.89epsilon(2.92) and 4.95epsilon(2.84) in the circumferential and longitudinal directions. For the isotropic model, sigma =7.89epsilon(2.88). In conclusion, different regions of the aneurysm have different yield stress, yield strains, and other mechanical properties, and this must be considered in understanding where the rupture might occur.
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