Effect of an abdominal aortic aneurysm on wave reflection in the aorta.
Despite extensive attention to abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in the biomedical engineering community, its effect on aortic hemodynamics and arterial wave reflection has not been addressed before. We used experimental and numerical methods, relying on a realistic AAA geometry constructed from patient computer tomography scans (CT-scans), to study this issue. Pressure and flow waves were measured and simulated before and after AAA repair, and wave reflections were analyzed using linear wave separation and wave intensity analysis. With AAA, pronounced reflections were present in the pressure and flow waveforms. The reflection coefficient measured experimentally in the upper aorta was negative with AAA (-0.10) versus 0.47 without AAA. Wave intensity analysis confirmed the presence of a backward expansion wave caused by sudden expansion of the aorta; this was absent without AAA. These results were confirmed using a 1-D numerical model. A parameter study using this model demonstrated that dominant factors are diameter and compliance of the aneurysm, with larger diameters and more compliant AAA generating more negative reflections. Finally, a preliminary noninvasive study in three patients before and after AAA repair demonstrated that AAA-repair increased the reflection coefficient. In conclusion, the presence of AAA significantly alters wave reflection and hemodynamics in the aorta, with apparently measurable effects in humans.