Variable open-end wave reflection in the pulmonary arteries of anesthetized sheep

J Physiol Sci. 2012 Jan;62(1):21-8. doi: 10.1007/s12576-011-0182-7. Epub 2011 Nov 20.


The aim of this study was to re-evaluate wave reflection in the healthy pulmonary arteries of sheep utilizing the time-domain-based method of wave intensity analysis. A thorough understanding of patterns of wave reflection during health and disease may provide future sensitive markers of early pulmonary vascular disease. Wave intensity was calculated from the simultaneous acquisition of proximal pulmonary arterial pressure and velocity in 12 anesthetized open-chest sheep. Normal pulmonary arterial wave speed was 2.1 ± 0.3 m s(-1). The incident forward compression wave generated by right ventricular systole was reflected in an open-end manner as a backward expansion wave from a site 3 cm downstream, corresponding to the main pulmonary bifurcation, and in a closed-end manner as a backward compression wave from a site 21 cm downstream, corresponding to the pulmonary microcirculation. The proximal open-end reflection site was not present throughout the entire cardiac cycle. Wave reflection was minimal with only 1% of the incident forward compression wave energy reflected as a backward expansion wave and 2% as a backward compression wave. The normal pulmonary artery in open-chest sheep is characterized by variable proximal open-end reflection from the main pulmonary bifurcation and fixed closed-end reflection from the microcirculation, generating backward-travelling waves of minimal intensity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity*
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Microcirculation / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Circulation / physiology*
  • Pulsatile Flow*
  • Sheep, Domestic
  • Ventricular Function, Right