Atherosclerosis can lead to formation of plaques in the arterial wall. Plaque rupture is a frequent and life-threatening event, resulting from complex degradative processes, especially when occurring in the coronary or carotid arteries where it can lead to myocardial infarction or stroke. The relation with plaque morphology and its mechanical characteristics has been elaborated extensively. However, from a mechanical point of view, most clinical research — especially in the carotid arteries — has been focused on noninvasive ultrasonic assessment of wall kinematics (distension) and, to a lesser extent, to strain and stresses in the radial direction.

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