Influence of material parameter variability on the predicted coronary artery biomechanical environment via uncertainty quantification

Caleb C. Berggren, David Jiang, Y. F. Jack Wang, Jake A. Bergquist, Lindsay C. Rupp, Zexin Liu, Rob S. MacLeod, Akil Narayan, Lucas H. Timmins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central to the clinical adoption of patient-specific modeling strategies is demonstrating that simulation results are reliable and safe. Indeed, simulation frameworks must be robust to uncertainty in model input(s), and levels of confidence should accompany results. In this study, we applied a coupled uncertainty quantification–finite element (FE) framework to understand the impact of uncertainty in vascular material properties on variability in predicted stresses. Univariate probability distributions were fit to material parameters derived from layer-specific mechanical behavior testing of human coronary tissue. Parameters were assumed to be probabilistically independent, allowing for efficient parameter ensemble sampling. In an idealized coronary artery geometry, a forward FE model for each parameter ensemble was created to predict tissue stresses under physiologic loading. An emulator was constructed within the UncertainSCI software using polynomial chaos techniques, and statistics and sensitivities were directly computed. Results demonstrated that material parameter uncertainty propagates to variability in predicted stresses across the vessel wall, with the largest dispersions in stress within the adventitial layer. Variability in stress was most sensitive to uncertainties in the anisotropic component of the strain energy function. Moreover, unary and binary interactions within the adventitial layer were the main contributors to stress variance, and the leading factor in stress variability was uncertainty in the stress-like material parameter that describes the contribution of the embedded fibers to the overall artery stiffness. Results from a patient-specific coronary model confirmed many of these findings. Collectively, these data highlight the impact of material property variation on uncertainty in predicted artery stresses and present a pipeline to explore and characterize forward model uncertainty in computational biomechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-940
Number of pages14
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Cardiovascular modeling
  • FEBio software suite
  • Patient-specific modeling
  • Vascular biomechanics
  • Vascular mechanobiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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