Abstract

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is one of the least understood and highly elusive cardiovascular conditions associated with elevated pulmonary arterial pressure. Although the disease mechanisms are not completely understood, evidence has accumulated from human and animal studies that irreversible processes of pulmonary arterial wall damage, compensated by stress-mediated growth, play critical roles in eliciting the mechanisms of disease progression. This study aims to develop a thermodynamic modeling structure of the pulmonary artery for considering the coupled plastic-degradation-growth irreversible processes in order to investigate mechanical roles of the dissipative phenomena in the disease progression. The proposed model performs a model parameter study of plastic deformation and degradation processes coupled with dissipative growth subjected to elevated pulmonary arterial pressure, and computationally generate in silico simulations of PH progression using the clinical features of PH, found in human morphological and mechanical data. The results show that considering plastic deformation can provide much better fitting of the ex vivo inflation tests than a widely used pure hyperelastic model in higher pressure conditions. In addition, the parameter sensitivity study illustrates that arterial damage and growth causes the increased stiffness, and the full simulation (combining elastic-plastic-degradation-growth models) reveals a key recovery pathological process of compensating vessel damage by vascular adaptation by reducing the rate of vessel dilation and mediating vascular wall stress. Finally, the simulation results of luminal enlargement, arterial thickening, and arterial stiffness for an anisotropic growth are found to be close to values from literatures.

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