Project: Computer Modelling of Aortic Rupture

Reference: S088D/VC

Last update: 04/12/2003 09:53:22

Objectives

The project objectives are to:

* review published literature and search CCIS databse to establish the current state of knowledge; and
* develop a finite element computer model of the human heart and aorta that can be used to investigate and determine the mechanical factors responsible for Blunt Traumatic Aortic Rupture.

Description

Blunt Traumatic Aortic Rupture (BTAR) is a relatively common injury associated with automotive accidents, which manifests as a transverse tear in the wall of the aorta. It is a severe injury with survival rates lower than 5%. Although BTAR is often referenced as being one of the leading causes of automotive fatalities, very little work has been undertaken to establish the incidence of this typically fatal injury in the UK. Such information could be used to determine if there are a significant number of accident deaths to merit further investigations. Furthermore, the mechanical factors initiating this injury are still unresolved, despite reference to this injury in the published literature over the past century. This information would prove beneficial in helping to design vehicle interiors and restraint systems to limit the severity and incidence of the injury.

In an attempt to clarify the above points, this project reviewed the published literature and carried out a search of the Co-operative Crash Injury Study (CCIS) database at TRL Ltd. to establish what is known about the injury and the incidence of BTAR in the UK. Furthermore, a Finite Element model of the human heart and aorta has been developed, providing a tool that can be applied to investigate and determine the mechanical factors responsible for BTAR.

It was determined from the literature review and CCIS database search that BTAR accounts for approximately 20% of automotive fatalities in the UK. Based on current road accident fatality rates, this suggests that BTAR account for between 342 and 684 road accident deaths annually, the large proportion of these occurring at the scene of the accident. Investigations of the published literature and CCIS database suggest that the condition is not limited to any particular accident circumstance or whether a restraint method was used or not.

Runs of the heart/aorta finite element model have demonstrated its potential for investigating and determining the mechanisms responsible for BTAR. However, additional work is required to enhance the structure and biofidelity of the model, in order to have greater confidence in its predictions.

Contractor(s)

TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £10,000.00

Actual start date: 01 October 1999

Actual completion date: 31 January 2001

Publication(s)

PR/SE/170/00. Investigation and Finite Element Modelling Study of Aortic Rupture
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 30/11/2000
Unpublished
Source: Contact Adrian.Eaton@dft.gsi.gov.uk
More information: http://www.trl.co.uk/static/dft/pr_se_170_00.pdf

Summary of results

  1. Literature Review and CCIS Study
    BTAR is present in approximately 20% of automotive fatalities in the UK. Based on current road accident fatality rates it is estimated that BTAR is associated with approximately 684 road accident deaths annually I the UK, the large proportion of these dying at the scene of the accident. Investigations of the published literature and CCIS database suggest that the condition is not limited to any particular accident circumstance or whether a restraint system was used or not. Speculation has been posed on the mechanical factors that initiate BTAR, although these are still hypothetical and are not supported by any definitive experimental evidence.

    FE Modelling
    Runs of the heart/aorta FE model as developed have demonstrated its potential for investigating and determining the mechanisms responsible for BTAR.