Cerebral aneurysms are pathological balloonings of blood vessels in the brain, commonly found in the arterial network at the base of the brain. Cerebral aneurysm rupture can lead to a dangerous medical condition, subarachnoid hemorrhage, that is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Effective evaluation and management of cerebral aneurysms is therefore essential to public health. The goal of treating an aneurysm is to isolate the aneurysm from its surrounding circulation, thereby preventing further growth and rupture. Endovascular treatment for cerebral aneurysms has gained popularity over traditional surgical techniques due to its minimally invasive nature and shorter associated recovery time. The hemodynamic modifications that the treatment effects can promote thrombus formation within the aneurysm leading to eventual isolation. However, different treatment devices can effect very different hemodynamic outcomes in aneurysms with different geometries.
Currently, cerebral aneurysm risk evaluation and treatment planning in clinical practice is largely based on geometric features of the aneurysm including the dome size, dome-to-neck ratio, and parent vessel geometry. Hemodynamics, on the other hand, although known to be deeply involved in cerebral aneurysm initiation and progression, are considered to a lesser degree. Previous work in the field of biofluid mechanics has demonstrated that geometry is a driving factor behind aneurysmal hemodynamics.
The goal of this research is to develop a more combined geometric/hemodynamic basis for informing clinical decisions. Geometric main effects were analyzed to quantify contributions made by geometric factors that describe cerebral aneurysms (i.e., dome size, dome-to-neck ratio, and inflow angle) to clinically relevant hemodynamic responses (i.e., wall shear stress, root mean square velocity magnitude and cross-neck flow). Computational templates of idealized bifurcation and sidewall aneurysms were created to satisfy a two-level full factorial design, and examined using computational fluid dynamics. A subset of the computational bifurcation templates was also translated into physical models for experimental validation using particle image velocimetry. The effects of geometry on treatment were analyzed by virtually treating the aneurysm templates with endovascular devices. The statistical relationships between geometry, treatment, and flow that emerged have the potential to play a valuable role in clinical practice.