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Evaluating rupture risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms is critically important in reducing related mortality without unnecessarily increasing the rate of elective repair. According to the current clinical practice aneurysm rupture risk is (mainly) estimated from its maximum diameter and/or expansion rate; an approach motivated from statistics but known to fail often in individuals. In contrast, recent research demonstrated that patient specific biomechanical simulations can provide more reliable diagnostic parameters, however current structural model development is cumbersome and time consuming. This paper used 2D and 3D deformable models to reconstruct aneurysms from computerized tomography angiography data with minimal user interactions. In particular, formulations of frames and shells, as known from structural mechanics, were used to define deformable modes, which in turn allowed a direct mechanical interpretation of the applied set of reconstruction parameters. Likewise, a parallel finite element implementation of the models allows the segmentation of clinical cases on standard personal computers within a few minutes. The particular topology of the applied 3D deformable models supports a fast and simple hexahedral-dominated meshing of the arising generally polyhedral domain. The variability of the derived segmentations (luminal: 0.50(SD 0.19) mm; exterior 0.89(SD 0.45) mm) with respect to large variations in elastic properties of the deformable models was in the range of the differences between manual segmentations as performed by experts (luminal: 0.57(SD 0.24) mm; exterior: 0.77(SD 0.58) mm), and was particularly independent from the algorithm's initialization. The proposed interaction of deformable models and mesh generation defines finite element meshes suitable to perform accurate and efficient structural analysis of the aneurysm using mixed finite element formulations.
Date of Publication: April 2010