Quantification of aortic stiffness and wall stress in healthy volunteers and abdominal aortic aneurysm patients using time-resolved 3D ultrasound: a comparison study

Emiel M.J. van Disseldorp (Corresponding author), Niels J. Petterson, Frans N. van de Vosse, Marc R.H.M. van Sambeek, Richard G.P. Lopata

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Aims Using non-invasive 3D ultrasound, peak wall stress (PWS) and aortic stiffness can be evaluated, which may provide additional criteria in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) risk assessment. In this study, these measures were determined in both young and age-matched individuals, and AAA patients while its relation to age, maximum diameter, and growth was assessed statistically. Methods and results Time-resolved 3D-US data were acquired for 30 volunteers and 65 AAA patients. The aortic geometry was segmented, and tracked over the cardiac cycle using 3D speckle tracking to characterize the wall motion. Wall stress analysis was performed using finite element analysis. Model parameters were optimized until the model output matched the measured 3D displacements. A significant increase in aortic stiffness was measured between the age-matched volunteers [median 0.58, interquartile range (IQR) 0.48-0.71 kPa ...m] and the small AAA patients (median 1.84, IQR 1.38-2.46 kPa ...m; P < 0.001). In addition, an increase in aortic stiffness was evaluated between the small (30-39 mm) and large (≥50 mm) AAAs (median 2.72, IQR 1.99-3.14 kPa ...m; P = 0.01). The 99th percentile wall stress showed a positive correlation with diameter (Ï = 0.73, P < 0.001), and significant differences between age-matched volunteers and AAA patients. Conclusion The AAA pathology causes an early and significant increase in aortic stiffness of the abdominal aorta, even after correcting for the expected effect of ageing and differences in arterial pressure. Moreover, some AAAs revealed relatively high PWS, although the maximum diameter was below the threshold for surgical repair. Using the current method, these measures become available during follow-up, which could improve AAA rupture risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Heart Journal. Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • 3D ultrasound
  • abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • aging
  • growth
  • healthy subjects
  • stiffness
  • Risk Assessment
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional/methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography/methods
  • Male
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Aged
  • Aorta, Abdominal/diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal/diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Stiffness


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