Measurement of body venous tone

J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. Sep-Oct 2000;44(2):341-60. doi: 10.1016/s1056-8719(00)00124-6.


The venous system contains about 70% of the blood volume, and approximately 75% of the venous volume is in the small veins and venules. Veins play an active role in the control of cardiac output (CO) and blood pressure. Drugs that interfere with venous tone have profound effects on CO and blood pressure due to the large venous capacity. Information on body venous tone cannot be obtained from studies using isolated venous preparations and perfused venous beds, which lack modulating cardiovascular reflex mechanisms. In vivo methods used for the assessment of venous function in experimental animals and humans are as follows: the mean circulatory filling pressure (MCFP) method for the determination of body venous tone, constant CO reservoir technique for measuring vascular compliance and unstressed volume, plethysmography or blood-pool scintigraphy along with venous occlusion for measuring the volume and compliance of an organ, linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) technique for estimating the diameter of a human dorsal hand vein, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging technique to monitor the cross-sectional area of a large vein, and ultrasonic crystals to estimate the dimension of an organ. These methods are described and critically evaluated to disclose their validity, merits and limitations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Volume
  • Cardiac Output
  • Compliance
  • Humans
  • Plethysmography
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Veins / physiology*