, Volume 11, Issue 3-4, pp 533-542,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 13 Jul 2011

The fiber orientation in the coronary arterial wall at physiological loading evaluated with a two-fiber constitutive model

Abstract

A patient-specific mechanical description of the coronary arterial wall is indispensable for individualized diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. A way to determine the artery’s mechanical properties is to fit the parameters of a constitutive model to patient-specific experimental data. Clinical data, however, essentially lack information about the stress-free geometry of an artery, which is necessary for constitutive modeling. In previous research, it has been shown that a way to circumvent this problem is to impose extra modeling constraints on the parameter estimation procedure. In this study, we propose a new modeling constraint concerning the in-situ fiber orientation (β phys). β phys, which is a major contributor to the arterial stress–strain behavior, was determined for porcine and human coronary arteries using a mixed numerical–experimental method. The in-situ situation was mimicked using in-vitro experiments at a physiological axial pre-stretch, in which pressure–radius and pressure–axial force were measured. A single-layered, hyperelastic, thick-walled, two-fiber material model was accurately fitted to the experimental data, enabling the computation of stress, strain, and fiber orientation. β phys was found to be almost equal for all vessels measured (36.4 ± 0.3)°, which theoretically can be explained using netting analysis. In further research, this finding can be used as an extra modeling constraint in parameter estimation from clinical data.