Aortic dissection and intramural hematoma: disruption of the biological-mechanical equilibrium?

01 January 2017 → 31 August 2020
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Fundamental research Prevention-early diagnosis Well-being
Project description

The wall of the aorta, the main blood vessel in our body, exists out of 3 layers. In patients suffering
from aortic dissection, a delamination of the layers has occurred and blood enters this cavity
through a tear in the wall. This cavity is also known as the “false channel”, as it contains blood, but
the blood is not distributed to organs and tissues. In other patients, one might find coagulated
blood within the wall of the aorta (an intramural hematoma), yet without any tear. The chances of
survival are quite different in both cases. The basic assumption that we make in this project is that
the intramural hematoma and dissection are two variants of the same disease, and that the
disease starts at specific locations, where smaller arteries branch off the aorta. We also think that
the ability of the blood to form a blood clot and to heal the initial lesion in the aortic wall is a
critical determinant of the severity of the disease. To study the initiation and progression of this
disease, we will use mouse models. This has the advantage that the disease process can be
followed up closely. In addition, we will be able to scan the diseased aorta’s using a technique
with a resolution of 1.3 micrometer, which will allow us to study the structure of the aorta at a
much deeper level than ever before. This project will allow us to detect the disease (or the risk of
developing the disease) in humans much earlier and better than we do now, and to come up with
better treatment.