The biomechanics within the ascending aorta (AA) characterizes the pressure and flow for the entire vascular system. In the aortic wall, it is the structured medial layer that is responsible for the mechanical properties of the AA. The mechanical properties are determined to a large extent by the composition of elastin, collagen and smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Changes in AA biomechanics that arise with age and/or disease can lead to cardiovascular complications and death. Most studies that have investigated the biomechanics of these diseases have assumed homogeneous and isotropic aortic wall properties. Very little work has been done in vitro to determine the local mechanical properties of human vascular tissue. In order to better understand the biomechanics of the human AA, the local properties of pathologic AA tissue from both tricuspid and bicuspid aortic valve patients have been studied and compared with the properties of healthy aortas.

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