The Calgary Thoracic Aorta Program are committed to improving care and treatment for patients with aortic diseases. We are collaborating with many Multi-Disciplinary Departments, including Histopathology, Rheumatology, Genetics, Radiology and Biomechanical Engineering in order to study the aorta. Our research is trying to delineate the etiology of the aorta, why it ruptures, how it grows and different surgical techniques including minimally invasive techniques in order to advance the care of aortic diseases.

BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH, CardioVascular Mechanics Lab, University of Calgary

We are developing software tools to help in the risk stratification of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Rupture of aortic aneurysms has high mortality; yet many patients present with aneurysms that do not lead to rupture, and the surgical treatment of aneurysm is high risk in itself. The currently accepted practice is to monitor the size of the aneurysm at one location from regular imaging.

Our novel computational method will allow to estimate the mechanical properties of the aorta from dynamic CT or MR images. Together with other indices of risk this will be used to assess aneurysms for surgical planning. We are collecting mechanical, histological and histochemical data on aortic samples to validate our approach. A key element of the validation is achieved performing ex-vivo mechanical characterization of the specimens to measure the anisotropic mechanical properties of arterial tissue and compare them to model predictions. A new instrument is under development that will allow the mechanical characterization directly under a confocal microscope.

Please find our team brochure for the University of Calgary Biomechanical Research team Cardiovascular Mechanics Lab



This is a prospective analysis of patients who have aortic arch surgery and we are part of a multi-centre international and national research program.  We are aiming to create a database of surgical interventions in order to review best practice.
Download Arch Project Consent Form


This is an international database/registry for all patients with aortic dissections.  This information will help doctors understand more about acute aortic dissection. Find out more



This study is being run in conjunction with the Division of Rheumatology and is looking at developing a registry of patients with vasculitis in the Southern Alberta Region. Find out more


This study is looking to identify genes that, when altered, lead to aortic aneurysms and dissections.  Patients and family members are included in this study. Find out more

Funding for our research is very important to further our knowledge of this complex medical research into the care of aortic pathology.  If you would like to donate, please click on the link below.