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Fluid-structure interaction in stent-grafts after repair of abdominal aortic

aneurysms
RagnarLarsson,HkanNilsson,AppliedMechanics,Chalmers
HkanRoos,MrtenFalkenberg,Div.forvascularandthoracicsurgery,SahlgrenskaAcademy,
Background
Abdominalaorticaneurysms(oraorticrupture)isadiseasecommonformales>65yearsofage.The
aneurysm(ordilatationoftheaorticvessel)increasesthetensionofthevesselwallaccordingtothe
lawofLaplace(yieldsaweakeningzoneofthevesselwall)leadingtoasignificantincreaseoftherisk
ofrupturewhich,untreated,islethal,cf.Figure1a.Theclassicaltreatmentconsistsofamajoropen
operation,whereaimistoreplacetheaffectedvesselwallwithaprosthesis,i.e.atubeconsistingof
DacronorePTFE(goretex)asshowninFigure1b.Thealternativetreatment,whichiswell
establishedandusedinpracticeworldwide,istoadoptreinforcementoftheaneurysmusingso
calledstentgrafts.Thestentgraftsareinsertedpercutaneouslyusingxraytechnique,andconsistsof
aspecialfabricsupportedbyametallicmeshcoveredbyaskin,cf.Figure1candFigure2.This
treatmentisnamedEndoVaskularAorticRepair(EVAR).
Stentgraft
inserted
percutaneously

(a)

(b)

Fig.1a)Aorticaneurysmruptureformation,b)Opensurgery,c)EVAR

(c)

Hypothesis
TheideaistostudytheflowinthegraftsvesselsystemconsideredasaFluidStructureInteraction
(FSI)problem.Theflowwithintheflexiblevessel(representedbythestentgraft)yieldsadistributed
forcetransmittedtotheaorticwallsofthegraftand,inparticular,totheattachments,cf.Figure2.

Distalattachmentcausedby
selfexpandingstentgraft
againstvesselwall

Fig.2ExampleofastentgraftusedinEVAR

Proximalattachmentwith
hookstobeanchoredat
aorticwall

Researchtasks
TheprojectwillbecarriedoutasacollaborativeworkbetweenSahlgrenskaAcademy,divfor
vascularandthoracicsurgeryandChalmers,departmentofAppliedMechanics.Researchtasks
concerningphysicaltestingwillbecarriedoutatbytheresearchgroupatSahlgrenska,whereasthe
modelingandcomputationalworkiscarriedoutasamasterthesisworkwithintheSolidandFluid
MechanicsmasterprogramatChalmers.
Fluidstructureinteractionmodelingandcomputation
Theaimofthemodelingandcomputationalworkistosupportandestablishthefindingsofthe
physicaltestingactivity.Therefore,asimplifiedonewaycoupledstudyiscarriedout.Thehypothesis
isalsothattheproblemrequiresdemandingandchallengingFSImodeling.Inordertoassessthe
significanceoftheFSIcouplingpertinenttothepresentproblem,arelatedsimplifiedplanarFSI
modelisdeveloped.Theresearchtasksareformulatedasfollows:

Initialonewaycoupledanalysisofthe3Dproblem.Inordertoobtainanideaoftheactual
flowandfluidpressureconditionsstandardCFDanalysiswillbecarriedoutwithrespecttoa
typicalfixedconfigurationofastentgraftdividingtheflowintotwochannels,suchasthe
stentshowninFigure2.Thisinvestigationfocusonthefluidflowandthepossible
occurrenceofturbulenceduetoobservedReynoldsnumbersintheflowdomain.Inaddition,
theforcesactingonthestentwallsareidentifiedandinvokedintoastressanalysisasaone
waycoupling.

AfundamentalinvestigationofthestateoftheartconcerningofFSImodeling,cf.Fig3,
pertinenttolightweight,flexiblethinwalledstructurescoupledtofluidflowinan
incompressibleregimeisconsidered.Asimplifiedplanarapproximationofthe3Dproblem
statedaboveistakenasthebasisfortheanalysis.AFiniteelementbasedapproachtoboth
thesolidthefluidphasesisconsideredastheprimaryparadigminthispartofthework.
Attentionisfocusedontheimplicationoftheflexibilityofthestentgraftwithrespecttothe
obtainedfluidflowandpressuredistributions.

Collaboration
Theproposedresearchhashighrelevancetobiomechanics,withresearchissuesestablishedin
collaborationwithSahlgrenskaAcademy,Dr.HkanRoosandDr.MrtenFalkenberg.Theproject
alsorepresentsresearchscientificissuesrelatedtocomputationalfluidaswellassolidmechanics;In
particular,representedbythefluidstructureinteractionproblem.Thepreliminaryonewaycoupled
analysiswillbecarriedoutincommonbetweentwoM.Sci.candidates,whereasinasecondphaseof
theprojectonestudentwillfocusonflowmodeling/simulationincludingthepossibilitiestoexploit
OpenfoamforFSIcomputations.Thesecondstudentwillfocusonthefundamentalcomputational
formulationofthepresentFSIproblemonthebasisofafiniteelementbasedapproach.Thework
involvesexchangeofideasandexperiencefromthecommonphysicalproblem.Forexample,a
commonbenchmarkproblemwillbeestablishedandtheresultsofthedifferentapproachescanand
willbecompared.ProsandconsofthedifferentapproachestotheFSIproblemwillbeinvestigated
andpresentedinonecommonM.Sci.thesisbetweentwostudents.