Twisted blood vessels: symptoms, etiology and biomechanical mechanisms

J Vasc Res. 2012;49(3):185-97. doi: 10.1159/000335123. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


Tortuous arteries and veins are commonly observed in humans and animals. While mild tortuosity is asymptomatic, severe tortuosity can lead to ischemic attack in distal organs. Clinical observations have linked tortuous arteries and veins with aging, atherosclerosis, hypertension, genetic defects and diabetes mellitus. However, the mechanisms of their formation and development are poorly understood. This review summarizes the current clinical and biomechanical studies on the initiation, development and treatment of tortuous blood vessels. We submit a new hypothesis that mechanical instability and remodeling could be mechanisms for the initiation and development of these tortuous vessels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Torsion Abnormality / etiology*
  • Torsion Abnormality / physiopathology*
  • Torsion Abnormality / surgery
  • Torsion, Mechanical
  • Varicose Veins / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology*