The abrupt closure of an artery by an occlusive thrombus is the main cause of myocardial infarcts and other thrombotic sequelae of atherosclerosis. This thrombosis is often associated with rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque [1,2]. Histology has shown that most rupture sites are also sites of increased mechanical stress [2]. It has been widely accepted that atherosclerosis leads to locally increased stresses in the region of lesions. However, validation of this hypothesis has been impeded by a lack of experimental data on the material strength of atherosclerotic tissues. Knowledge of mechanical properties of human atherosclerotic tissues is essential for understanding the rupture mechanism and also for creating more accurate computational models for predicting fatal cardiovascular events [3]. Moreover, an increased understanding of the mechanical properties of atherosclerotic tissue is important for developing greater insight into the pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system and as well as for predicting the outcome of interventional treatments such as balloon angioplasty.

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