Aortic aneurysm is a pathological dilatation of the aorta that can be life-threatening when it ruptures. Aneurysms occur throughout the entire aorta but there is a predisposition for the ascending and the abdominal aorta, an observation that cannot be fully explained by the current knowledge of the disease pathophysiology. ApoE −/− mice infused with angiotensin II have recently been reported to develop not only abdominal [1], but also ascending aortic aneurysms [2]. These animals thus provide the perfect model to compare aneurysm progression in both aortic locations and to investigate whether disturbed hemodynamics play a role in the initial phase of aneurysm growth. In this study, both imaging and computational biomechanics techniques were used to elucidate the flow field at the location of the aneurysm prior to onset of the disease.

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