Pulmonary injuries are a major source of morbidity and mortality associated with trauma. Trauma includes injuries associated with accidents and falls as well as blast injuries caused by explosives. The prevalence and mortality of these injuries has made research of pulmonary injury a major priority. Lungs have a complex structure, with multiple types of tissues necessary to allow successful respiration. The soft, porous parenchyma is the component of the lung which contains the alveoli responsible for gas exchange. Parenchyma is also the portion which is most susceptible to traumatic injury. Finite element simulations are an important tool for studying traumatic injury to the human body. These simulations rely on material properties to accurately recreate real world mechanical behaviors. Previous studies have explored the mechanical properties of lung tissues, specifically parenchyma. These studies have assumed material isotropy but, to our knowledge, no study has thoroughly tested and quantified this assumption. This study presents a novel methodology for assessing isotropy in a tissue, and applies these methods to porcine lung parenchyma. Briefly, lung parenchyma samples were dissected so as to be aligned with one of the three anatomical planes, sagittal, frontal, and transverse, and then subjected to compressive mechanical testing. Stress-strain curves from these tests were statistically compared by a novel method for differences in stresses and strains at percentages of the curve. Histological samples aligned with the anatomical planes were also examined by qualitative and quantitative methods to determine any differences in the microstructural morphology. Our study showed significant evidence to support the hypothesis that lung parenchyma behaves isotropically.
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