Predictors of abdominal aortic aneurysm risks

Stephen J. Haller, Amir F. Azarbal, Sandra Rugonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Computational biomechanics via finite element analysis (FEA) has long promised a means of assessing patient-specific abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture risk with greater efficacy than current clinically used size-based criteria. The pursuit stems from the notion that AAA rupture occurs when wall stress exceeds wall strength. Quantification of peak (maximum) wall stress (PWS) has been at the cornerstone of this research, with numerous studies having demonstrated that PWS better differentiates ruptured AAAs from non-ruptured AAAs. In contrast to wall stress models, which have become progressively more sophisticated, there has been relatively little progress in estimating patient-specific wall strength. This is because wall strength cannot be inferred non-invasively, and measurements from excised patient tissues show a large spectrum of wall strength values. In this review, we highlight studies that investigated the relationship between biomechanics and AAA rupture risk. We conclude that combining wall stress and wall strength approximations should provide better estimations of AAA rupture risk. However, before personalized biomechanical AAA risk assessment can become a reality, better methods for estimating patient-specific wall properties or surrogate markers of aortic wall degradation are needed. Artificial intelligence methods can be key in stratifying patients, leading to personalized AAA risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Abdominal aneurysm
  • Aorta biomechanics
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic wall stress
  • Risk assessment
  • Rupture potential index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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