Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division August 31, 2000; revised manuscript received May 16, 2001. Associate Editor: J. B. Grotberg.

Researchers agree that studies of human plaque mechanical behavior should seek to describe local tissue stress and identify plaque features that underlie stability and instability 1,2,3. Moreover, it has been suggested that a complete understanding of vascular mechanical behavior in both health and disease will rely upon successfully coupling experimentation with appropriate modeling, using techniques such as finite elements 4. The underlying hypothesis of our work is that tissue mechanics, morphology, and morphogenesis are related in human atherosclerosis as determinants of plaque composition, vessel remodeling, and susceptibility to complication. Studies that continue to clarify this synergism will yield important information about atherogenesis, disease progression, and...

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