Aneurysms are balloon-like bulges in the sides of blood vessels, where the delicate lining spills out through weak points in the vessel wall. A burst or rupture can cause fatal internal bleeding in the brain, or in this abdominal aortic aneurysm. To treat aneurysms, surgeons commonly insert a stent – a sort of pop-up cage, which supports the weakened vessel from within. In this mathematical model, a new approach is tested – filling the vessel (purple) with a polymer (coloured light blue in the 'healthy' vessel on the left) keeping stents (dark blue) in place as blood is carried down from the kidneys above to the iliac arteries in the groin. The model makes a disturbing prediction that day-to-day forces in a human body, like the pendulum swing of the legs, could disrupt the 'seal' of the polymer (right images). Examining this virtually may prevent future risks to aneurysm sufferers.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.