This research was directed toward quantitatively characterizing the effects of arterial mechanical treatment procedures on the stress and strain energy states of the artery wall. Finite element simulations of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and orbital atherectomy were performed on arterial lesion models with various extents and types of plaque. Stress fields in the artery were calculated and strain energy density was used as an explicit description of potential damage to the artery. The research also included numerical simulations of changes in arterial compliance due to orbital atherectomy.
The angioplasty simulations show that the damage energy fields in the media and adventitia are predominant in regions of the lesion that are not protected by a layer of calcification. It was observed that softening the plaque components leads to a lower peak stress and therefore lesser damage energy in the media and adventitia under the action of a semi-compliant balloon. Orbital atherectomy simulations revealed that the major strain energy density dissipated is concentrated in the plaque components in contact with the spinning tool. The damage and peak stress fields in the media and adventitia components of the vessel were significantly less. This observation suggests less mechanically induced trauma during a localized procedure like orbital atherectomy. Artery compliance was calculated pre- and-post treatment and an increase was observed after the orbital atherectomy procedure. The localized plaque disruption produced in atherectomy suggests that the undesirable stress states in angioplasty can be mitigated by a combination of procedures such as atherectomy followed by angioplasty.