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Aneurysm formation is mapped over time in live animals, with the help of gold nanoparticles, micro-CT and ultrasound.

Researchers open a window onto the dangerously silent progression of aneurysm formation, tracking aortic changes over time in a live mouse model.

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  • AuroVist™ 15 nm
    • Non-toxic for repeated in vivo micro-CT over time
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    • Longest blood half-life of any x-ray contrast agent

Read the scientific papers online:

Bols, J., Degroote, J., Trachet, B., Verhegghe, B., Segers, P., Vierendeels, J. A computational method to assess the in vivo stresses and unloaded configuration of patient-specific blood vessels. Journal of Computational & Applied Mathematics. July 2013, Vol. 246, p10-17.

Dr. Trachet and his colleagues have added another computational tool to the analysis of aortic aneurysm, pioneering a method to compute the initial stress distribution present in a scanned aneurysm, thus accounting for the stresses present in a scanned geometry due to the in vivo blood pressure. They again used intravenous injection of AuroVist™ 15 nm to achieve high-resolution 3D images of AAA in a mouse model, upon which their computational backward displacement method was successfully performed to determine the unloaded geometry, which was then used to recover the scanned geometry, but this time including its initial stress distribution . Their contribution allows for a more correct computational analysis of mouse-specific stresses based on geometries obtained from in vivo scans, and may be an important step toward a more accurate understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.

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Trachet, B.; Renard, M.; De Santis, G.; Staelens, S.; De Backer, J.; Antiga, L.; Loeys, B., and Segers, P. An integrated framework to quantitatively link mouse-specific hemodynamics to aneurysm formation in angiotensin II-infused ApoE -/- mice. Ann. Biomed. Eng., 39, 2430-2444 (2011).

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a hidden threat, lurking behind an asymptomatic progression. Here, a potential key to predicting the disease was investigated: hemodynamics. Using non-toxic AuroVist™ as an x-ray contrast agent for micro-CT, the group created detailed 3D images of the aorta in a mouse model over time, tracking aneurysms as they formed. Points of blood flow turbulence in the aorta, calculated with the help of ultrasound scans, were found to have qualitative correlation to areas where aortic bulging later occurred. "We cannot exclude that hemodynamics play a role in the initial phases of AAA formation," the group concluded. Crucially, the group has defined an experimental-computational framework for future study of the disease and its elusive developmental factors in mice, and a better understanding of this disease may someday provide a way to identify individuals most at risk for this life-threatening condition.

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