Statistical Shape Analysis of Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm: Correlation between Shape and Biomechanical Descriptors

Federica Cosentino, Giuseppe M Raffa, Giovanni Gentile, Valentina Agnese, Diego Bellavia, Michele Pilato, Salvatore Pasta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm (ATAA) is a heterogeneous disease showing different patterns of aortic dilatation and valve morphologies, each with distinct clinical course. This study aimed to explore the aortic morphology and the associations between shape and function in a population of ATAA, while further assessing novel risk models of aortic surgery not based on aortic size. Shape variability of n = 106 patients with ATAA and different valve morphologies (i.e., bicuspid versus tricuspid aortic valve) was estimated by statistical shape analysis (SSA) to compute a mean aortic shape and its deformation. Once the computational atlas was built, principal component analysis (PCA) allowed to reduce the complex ATAA anatomy to a few shape modes, which were correlated to shear stress and aortic strain, as determined by computational analysis. Findings demonstrated that shape modes are associated to specific morphological features of aneurysmal aorta as the vessel tortuosity and local bulging of the ATAA. A predictive model, built with principal shape modes of the ATAA wall, achieved better performance in stratifying surgically operated ATAAs versus monitored ATAAs, with respect to a baseline model using the maximum aortic diameter. Using current imaging resources, this study demonstrated the potential of SSA to investigate the association between shape and function in ATAAs, with the goal of developing a personalized approach for the treatment of the severity of aneurysmal aorta.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2020


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