Mechanical characterisation and structural analysis of normal and remodeled cardiovascular soft tissue
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Characterization of multiaxial mechanical properties of cardiovascular soft tissue is essential in order to better understand their growth and remodeling in homeostatic conditions and in response to injury or pathological conditions. Though numerous phenomenological models have been proposed to characterize such multiaxial mechanical behavior, the approach has certain drawbacks regarding experimental determination of the model coefficients. We propose a method that aims to overcome these drawbacks. The approach makes use of orthogonal polynomials to fit the biaxial test data and suggests a way to derive the strain energy function from these analytical fits by way of minimizing the deviation of the behavior from hyperelastic ideal. Using the proposed method, a strain energy function for a lymphatic vessel is derived and the method is compared with traditional ones that used non-orthogonal polynomials as independent variables in the functional form for strain energy. The unique coefficient values obtained using the proposed method, for the first time gives us an opportunity to attribute a physical characteristic of the material to the coefficient values. The method also provides a way to assess two different material behaviors by way of comparing their deviation from the hyperelastic behavior when a similar test protocol is used to collect the data, over a similar deformation range and the order of polynomial function is chosen so as to give a similar error of fit. The behavior of mesenteric lymph vessels from normal cows, cows subjected to sham surgery and those subjected to 3 days of edematous conditions by venous occlusion are compared using this method. To be able to better understand the changes in mechanical behavior, morphological analysis of the vessels was carried out and the geometric and structural changes in these vessels were studied. We found that the behavior of bovine mesenteric lymph vessels subjected to a high flow condition shows a small difference in their mechanical behavior as compared to the vessels from normal a cow and a cow subjected to sham surgery. The geometry and structure of these vessels also showed marked differences from the other two. The thickness to radius ratio increased and a rise in percentage of area occupied by smooth muscle cells and medial collagen was observed. Though not all the differences were statistically significant, we conclude that the behavior and the morphology are suggestive of the remodeling of the vessel in response to altered hemodynamic conditions and require further investigation.
Kotiya, Akhilesh A. (2008). Mechanical characterisation and structural analysis of normal and remodeled cardiovascular soft tissue. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from