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On the potential self-amplification of aneurysms due to tissue degradation and blood flow revealed from FSI simulations
Tissue degradation plays a crucial role in the formation and rupture of aneurysms. Using numerical computer simulations, we study the combined effects of blood flow and tissue degradation on intra-aneurysm hemodynamics. Our computational analysis reveals that the degradation-induced changes of the time-averaged wall shear stress (TAWSS) and oscillatory shear index (OSI) within the aneurysm dome are inversely correlated. Importantly, their correlation is enhanced in the process of tissue degradation. Regions with a low TAWSS and a high OSI experience still lower TAWSS and higher OSI during degradation. Furthermore, we observed that degradation leads to an increase of the endothelial cell activation potential index, in particular, at places experiencing low wall shear stress. These findings are robust and occur for different geometries, degradation intensities, heart rates and pressures. We interpret these findings in the context of recent literature and argue that the degradation-induced hemodynamic changes may lead to a self-amplification of the flow-induced progressive damage of the aneurysmal wall.