Currently the transverse diameter is the primary decision criterion to assess rupture risk in patients with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). To obtain a measure for more patient-specific risk assessment, aneurysm wall stress, calculated using finite element analysis (FEA), has been evaluated in literature. In many cases, initial stress, present in the AAA wall during image acquisition, is not taken into account. In the current study the effect of initial stress incorporation (ISI) is determined by directly comparing wall displacements extracted from FEA and dynamic MRI. Ten patients with an aneurysm diameter > 5.5 cm were scanned with cardiac triggered MRI. Semi-automatic segmentation of the AAA was performed on the diastolic phase. The segmented in-slice contours were propagated through the remaining cardiac phases using an active contour model as to track wall displacements on MRI. Consequently, FEA with and without ISI (no-ISI) was performed using the diastolic geometry with simultaneously measured intra-aneurysm pressure values as boundary condition. Contours extracted from FEA were compared with MRI contours at corresponding cardiac phases by distance and relative area differences. The wall displacements from FEA with ISI show significant better correspondence with wall motion from MRI data in comparison with the no-ISI FEA (deviation in wall displacement 1.7% vs. 12.4%; p <0.001). Based on these results it can be concluded that incorporation of initial stress significantly improves wall displacement accuracy of FEA and therefore it should be incorporated in future analyses. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.