Patient-specific analysis of ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm with the living heart human model

Salvatore Cutugno, Valentina Agnese, Giovanni Gentile, Giuseppe M. Raffa, Andrew D. Wisneski, Julius M. Guccione, Michele Pilato, Salvatore Pasta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms (ATAAs), aneurysm kinematics are driven by ventricular traction occurring every heartbeat, increasing the stress level of dilated aortic wall. Aortic elongation due to heart motion and aortic length are emerging as potential indicators of adverse events in ATAAs; however, simulation of ATAA that takes into account the cardiac mechanics is technically challenging. The objective of this study was to adapt the realistic Living Heart Human Model (LHHM) to the anatomy and physiology of a patient with ATAA to assess the role of cardiac motion on aortic wall stress distribution. Patient-specific segmentation and material parameter estimation were done using preoperative computed tomography angiography (CTA) and ex vivo biaxial testing of the harvested tissue collected during surgery. The lumped-parameter model of systemic circulation implemented in the LHHM was refined using clinical and echocardiographic data. The results showed that the longitudinal stress was highest in the major curvature of the aneurysm, with specific aortic quadrants having stress levels change from tensile to compressive in a transmural direction. This study revealed the key role of heart motion that stretches the aortic root and increases ATAA wall tension. The ATAA LHHM is a realistic cardiovascular platform where patient-specific information can be easily integrated to assess the aneurysm biomechanics and potentially support the clinical management of patients with ATAAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Ascending aortic aneurysm
  • Cardiac mechanics
  • Finite element analysis
  • Living heart human model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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