Is arterial wall-strain stiffening an additional process responsible for atherosclerosis in coronary bifurcations? An in vivo study based on dynamic CT and MRI

Jacques Ohayon, Ahmed M. Gharib, Alberto Garcia, Julie Heroux, Saami K. Yazdani, Mauro Malvè, Philippe Tracqui, Miguel Angel Martinez, Manuel Doblare, Gérard Finet, Roderic I. Pettigrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coronary bifurcations represent specific regions of the arterial tree that are susceptible to atherosclerotic lesions. While the effects of vessel compliance, curvature, pulsatile blood flow, and cardiac motion on coronary endothelial shear stress have been widely explored, the effects of myocardial contraction on arterial wall stress/strain (WS/S) and vessel stiffness distributions remain unclear. Local increase of vessel stiffness resulting from wall-strain stiffening phenomenon (a local process due to the nonlinear mechanical properties of the arterial wall) may be critical in the development of atherosclerotic lesions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to quantify WS/S and stiffness in coronary bifurcations and to investigate correlations with plaque sites. Anatomic coronary geometry and cardiac motion were generated based on both computed tomography and MRI examinations of eight patients with minimal coronary disease. Computational structural analyses using the finite element method were subsequently performed, and spatial luminal arterial wall stretch (LWStretch) and stiffness (LWStiff) distributions in the left main coronary bifurcations were calculated. Our results show that all plaque sites were concomitantly subject to high LWStretch and high LWStiff, with mean amplitudes of 34.7 ± 1.6% and 442.4 ± 113.0 kPa, respectively. The mean LWStiff amplitude was found slightly greater at the plaque sites on the left main coronary artery (mean value: 482.2 ± 88.1 kPa) compared with those computed on the left anterior descending and left circumflex coronary arteries (416.3±61.5 and 428.7±181.8 kPa, respectively). These findings suggest that local wall stiffness plays a role in the initiation of atherosclerotic lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1097-H1106
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume301
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Biomechanics
  • Computed tomography
  • Coronary disease
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Wall stiffness
  • Wall stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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