An integrated approach to simulating the vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque

23 Nov 2019  ·  Mirzaei Navid Mohammad, Fok Pak-Wing, Weintraub William S. ·

Analyses of individual atherosclerotic plaques are mostly descriptive, relying -- for example -- on histological classification by spectral analysis of ultrasound waves or staining and observing particular cellular components. Such passive methods have proved useful for characterizing the structure and vulnerability of plaques but have little quantitative predictive power... In this viewpoint article, we propose an integrated quantitative framework to understand the evolution of plaque. The main approach is to use Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) with macrophages, necrotic cells, oxidized lipids, oxygen concentration and PDGF as primary variables coupled to a biomechanical model to describe vessel growth. The model is deterministic, providing mechanical, morphological, and histological characteristics of an atherosclerotic vessel at any desired future time point. We discuss the pros and cons of such a model, how such a model can provide insight to the clinician, and potentially guide therapy. Finally, we use our model to create computer-generated animations of a plaque evolution that are in qualitative agreement with serial ultrasound images published by Kubo et al. (2010) and hypothesize possible atherogenic mechanisms. read more

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