Patient specific characterization of artery and plaque material properties in peripheral artery disease

Christopher Noble, Kent D. Carlson, Erica Neumann, Dan Dragomir-Daescu, Ahmet Erdemir, Amir Lerman, Melissa Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Patient-specific finite element (FE) modeling of atherosclerotic plaque is challenging, as there is limited information available clinically to characterize plaque components. This study proposes that for the limited data available in vivo, material properties of plaque and artery can be identified using inverse FE analysis and either a simple neo-Hookean constitutive model or assuming linear elasticity provides sufficient accuracy to capture the changes in vessel deformation, which is the available clinical metric. To test this, 10 human cadaveric femoral arteries were each pressurized ex vivo at 6 pressure levels, while intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and virtual histology (VH) imaging were performed during controlled pull-back to determine vessel geometry and plaque structure. The VH images were then utilized to construct FE models with heterogeneous material properties corresponding to the vessel plaque components. The constitutive models were then fit to each plaque component by minimizing the difference between the experimental and the simulated geometry using the inverse FE method. Additionally, we further simplified the analysis by assuming the vessel wall had a homogeneous structure, i.e. lumping artery and plaque as one tissue. We found that for the heterogeneous wall structure, the simulated and experimental vessel geometries compared well when the fitted neo-Hookean parameters or elastic modulus, in the case of linear elasticity, were utilized. Furthermore, taking the median of these fitted parameters then inputting these as plaque component mechanical properties in the finite element simulation yielded differences between simulated and experimental geometries that were on average around 2% greater (1.30–5.55% error range to 2.33–11.71% error range). For the homogeneous wall structure the simulated and experimental wall geometries had an average difference of around 4% although when the difference was calculated using the median fitted value this difference was larger than for the heterogeneous fits. Finally, comparison to uniaxial tension data and to literature constitutive models also gave confidence to the suitability of this simplified approach for patient-specific arterial simulation based on data that may be acquired in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103453
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Inverse finite element analysis
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Pressure inflation testing
  • Virtual histology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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