Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Pathomechanics: Current Understanding and Future Directions

  • Erica M. C. Kemmerling
  • Robert A. PeattieEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1097)


Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are permanent, local expansions of the abdominal segment of the aorta that can potentially be fatal if progressing to rupture. AAAs are rarely found in patients under age 60, but are more common in older age groups, occurring in 2–3% of the whole population. Their rupture produces up to 14,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Because aneurysmal rupture is a mechanical phenomenon, in recent years there has been a major effort among researchers to investigate the biologic and mechanical processes surrounding AAA progression and rupture. In addition to the basic science importance of understanding AAA pathophysiology, much of this research has been directed toward the development of accurate clinical criteria for assessing the risk of rupture on a patient-by-patient basis. This review first summarizes degenerative changes of the aorta wall associated with AAA pathogenesis. Current understanding of hemodynamics, transport, and wall mechanics in AAAs is then described, and open questions in aneurysm research are discussed along with potential directions in which further understanding could lead to improved clinical evaluation and management decision processes.



The authors thank Dr. Gerhard Holzapfel for the use of images 2b and 2d, Mr. Sudharsan Madhavan for the assistance with the preparation of Fig. 3, and Mr. Erik Edgar for the assistance with the preparation of Figs. 4 and 5. This work was supported by National Science Foundation [grant numbers CMMI-1031366, CMMI-1352955].

Declaration of Conflicting Interests The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryTufts Medical CenterBostonUSA

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