The clinical assessment of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture risk is based on the quantification of AAA size by measuring its maximum diameter from computed tomography (CT) images and estimating the expansion rate of the aneurysm sac over time. Recent findings have shown that geometrical shape and size, as well as local wall thickness may be related to this risk; thus, reliable noninvasive image-based methods to evaluate AAA geometry have a potential to become valuable clinical tools. Utilizing existing CT data, the three-dimensional geometry of nine unruptured human AAAs was reconstructed and characterized quantitatively. We propose and evaluate a series of 1D size, 2D shape, 3D size, 3D shape, and second-order curvature-based indices to quantify AAA geometry, as well as the geometry of a size-matched idealized fusiform aneurysm and a patient-specific normal abdominal aorta used as controls. The wall thickness estimation algorithm, validated in our previous work, is tested against discrete point measurements taken from a cadaver tissue model, yielding an average relative difference in AAA wall thickness of 7.8%. It is unlikely that any one of the proposed geometrical indices alone would be a reliable index of rupture risk or a threshold for elective repair. Rather, the complete geometry and a positive correlation of a set of indices should be considered to assess the potential for rupture. With this quantitative parameter assessment, future research can be directed toward statistical analyses correlating the numerical values of these parameters with the risk of aneurysm rupture or intervention (surgical or endovascular). While this work does not provide direct insight into the possible clinical use of the geometric parameters, we believe it provides the foundation necessary for future efforts in that direction.
2009. Vol. 131, no 6, 061015- p.