Blood flow in major blood vessels-modeling and experiments

Ann Biomed Eng. 2005 Dec;33(12):1710-3. doi: 10.1007/s10439-005-8773-1.


Although primarily motivated by an interest in atherosclerosis, modeling of arterial blood flow is also important to an understanding of congenital effects and to improvements in therapeutics. A variety of methods are available to estimate the flow field in living arteries, each with its own advantages and limitations. Tradeoffs must be made among the realism of the technique, spatial resolution, geometric fidelity, and the reliability of assumed wall mechanical properties. Once the velocity field is obtained, each differentiation, to obtain wall shear or its spatial or temporal derivatives, adds additional uncertainty into the results, demanding cautious interpretation. A distinction is made between "macro" and "micro" levels of flow structure detail: macro level structure is relatively coarse and more descriptive of the flow field, pressure, and shear distribution than the cellular response; the micro approach tries to relate a more local hemodynamic description to vascular pathology. The applications of each, and the interactions between them, are described. Issues related to these approaches, including the use of clinical data, animal experimentation, the role of cell and organ culture, and in vivo flow measurement, are briefly discussed. The summary closes with a list of recommendations for future developments in this area.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Hemorheology*
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Microcirculation / physiopathology
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Stress, Mechanical