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Mechanics of vulnerable plaque in human coronary arteries

Mechanics of vulnerable plaque in human coronary arteries

Project Investigators: Ali Cagdas Akyildiz, Jolanda Wentzel , Anton van der Steen, Frank Gijsen 


We propose a hybrid numerical/experimental approach to develop, validate and apply a biomechanical plaque model for stress assessment in human coronary plaques. Human coronary arteries with atherosclerotic plaques obtained from autopsy material are subjected to intraluminal pressure and imaged with a high resolution MR scanner at Erasmus MC during the in vitro experiments. The MR compatible experimental setup designed in our laboratory enables to visualize the relevant plaque components and their deformations under the influence of pressure increase.


Finite element simulations are done based on the obtained MR images. The results of the in vitro experiments and finite element models are used to validate the biomechanical model of the vulnerable plaque.


This model can be applied on a larger scale to plaques in both coronary and carotid arteries to investigate the risk of acute myocardial infarction and stroke due to plaque rupture. Moreover, it can be used to search for new targeted imaging techniques and pharmaceutical interventions and to study the interaction between stents and the diseased arterial wall.