A Multiscale Model for the Simulation of Cerebral and Extracerebral Blood Flows and Pressures in Humans

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2018 Nov;118(11):2443-2454. doi: 10.1007/s00421-018-3971-3. Epub 2018 Aug 31.


Purpose: Brain hemodynamics is fundamental for the functioning of the human being. Many biophysical factors affect brain circulation, so that a satisfactory understanding of its behavior is challenging. We developed a mathematical model to simulate cerebral and extracerebral flows and pressures in humans.

Methods: The model is composed of an anatomically informed 1-D arterial network, and two 0-D networks of the cerebral circulation and brain drainage, respectively. It takes into account the pulse-wave transmission properties of the 55 main arteries and the main hydraulic and autoregulation mechanisms ensuring blood supply and drainage to the brain. Proper pressure outputs from the arterial 1-D model are used as input to the 0-D models, together with the contribution to venous pressure due to breathing that simulates the drainage effect of the thoracic pump.

Results: The model we developed is able to link the arterial tree with the venous pathways devoted to the brain drainage, and to simulate important factors affecting cerebral circulation both for physiological and pathological conditions, such as breathing and hypo/hypercapnia. Finally, the average value of simulated flows and pressures is in agreement with the available experimental data.

Conclusions: The model has the potential to predict important clinical parameters before and after physiological and/or pathological changes.

Keywords: Breathing; Cerebral and extracerebral parameters; Circulation; Mathematical modeling; pressure change.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*