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Technical Paper

Study of Potential Mechanisms of Traumatic Rupture of the Aorta Using InSitu Experiments

Traumatic rupture of the aorta (TRA) is an important transportation-related injury. This study investigated TRA mechanisms using in situ human cadaver experiments. Four quasi-static tests and one dynamic test were performed. The quasi-static experiments were conducted by perturbing the mediastinal structures of the cadavers. The mechanisms investigated included anterior, superior, and lateral displacement of the heart and aortic arch. The resulting injuries ranged from partial tears to complete transections. All injuries occurred within the peri-isthmic region. Intimal tears were associated with the primary injuries. The average failure load and stretch were 148 N and 30 percent for the quasi-static tests. This study illustrates that TRA can result from appropriate application of nominal levels of longitudinal load and tension. The results demonstrate that intraluminal pressure and whole-body acceleration are not required for TRA to occur.
Technical Paper

Dynamic Biaxial Tissue Properties of the Human Cadaver Aorta

This study focuses on the biaxial mechanical properties of planar aorta tissue at strain rates likely to be experienced during automotive crashes. It also examines the structural response of the whole aorta to longitudinal tension. Twenty-six tissue-level tests were conducted using twelve thoracic aortas harvested from human cadavers. Cruciate samples were excised from the ascending, peri-isthmic, and descending regions. The samples were subjected to equibiaxial stretch at two nominal speed levels using a new biaxial tissue-testing device. Inertia-compensated loads were measured to facilitate calculation of true stress. High-speed videography and regional correlation analysis were used to track ink dots marked on the center of each sample to obtain strain. In a series of component-level tests, the response of the intact thoracic aorta to longitudinal stretch was obtained using seven aorta specimens. The aorta fails within the peri-isthmic region.