Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 1368–1381 | Cite as

Methods for Three-Dimensional Geometric Characterization of the Arterial Vasculature

  • Padraig M. O’Flynn
  • Gerard O’Sullivan
  • Abhay S. PanditEmail author


Complex vascular anatomy often affects endovascular procedural outcome. Accurate quantitative assessment of three-dimensional (3D) in-vivo arterial morphology is therefore vital for endovascular device design, and preoperative planning of percutaneous interventions. The aim of this work was to establish geometric parameters describing arterial branch origin, trajectory, and vessel curvature in 3D space that eliminate the errors implicit in planar measurements. 3D branching parameters at visceral and aortic bifurcation sites, as well as arterial tortuosity were determined from vessel centerlines derived from magnetic resonance angiography data for three subjects. Errors in coronal measurements of 3D branching angles for the right and left renal arteries were 3.1 ± 3.4° and 7.5 ± 3.7°, respectively. Distortion of the anterior visceral branching angles from sagittal measurements was less pronounced. Asymmetry in branching and planarity of the common iliac arteries was observed at aortic bifurcations. The renal arteries possessed considerably greater 3D curvature than the abdominal aorta and common iliac vessels with mean average values of 0.114 ± 0.015 and 0.070 ± 0.019 mm−1 for the left and right, respectively. In conclusion, planar projections misrepresented branch trajectory, vessel length, and tortuosity proving the importance of 3D geometric characterization for possible applications in planning of endovascular interventional procedures and providing parameters for endovascular device design.


Abdominal aorta Visceral branch arteries Common iliac arteries Branching angle Bifurcation planarity Arterial tortuosity Curvature Torsion 

List of abbreviations and symbols


magnetic resonance angiography






maximum intensity projection


endovascular aneurysm repair


digital imaging and communications in medicine


distance factor metric




total curvature


average curvature




total torsion


combined curvature


total combined curvature




celiac trunk


superior mesenteric artery


right renal artery


left renal artery


right common iliac artery


left common iliac artery









The authors would like to acknowledge Ms. Geraldine Dowd, Clinical Specialist Radiographer, University College Hospital, Galway for her help and James Coburn for his technical expertise. This work was supported with funds from Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (IRCSET): funded by the National Development Plan.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Padraig M. O’Flynn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerard O’Sullivan
    • 3
  • Abhay S. Pandit
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Biomedical EngineeringNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.National Centre for Biomedical Engineering ScienceNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  3. 3.Section of Interventional RadiologyUniversity College HospitalGalwayIreland

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