Large vessels as a tree of transmission lines incorporated in the CircAdapt whole-heart model: A computational tool to examine heart-vessel interaction

PLoS Comput Biol. 2019 Jul 15;15(7):e1007173. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007173. eCollection 2019 Jul.


We developed a whole-circulation computational model by integrating a transmission line (TL) model describing vascular wave transmission into the established CircAdapt platform of whole-heart mechanics. In the present paper, we verify the numerical framework of our TL model by benchmark comparison to a previously validated pulse wave propagation (PWP) model. Additionally, we showcase the integrated CircAdapt-TL model, which now includes the heart as well as extensive arterial and venous trees with terminal impedances. We present CircAdapt-TL haemodynamics simulations of: 1) a systemic normotensive situation and 2) a systemic hypertensive situation. In the TL-PWP benchmark comparison we found good agreement regarding pressure and flow waveforms (relative errors ≤ 2.9% for pressure, and ≤ 5.6% for flow). CircAdapt-TL simulations reproduced the typically observed haemodynamic changes with hypertension, expressed by increases in mean and pulsatile blood pressures, and increased arterial pulse wave velocity. We observed a change in the timing of pressure augmentation (defined as a late-systolic boost in aortic pressure) from occurring after time of peak systolic pressure in the normotensive situation, to occurring prior to time of peak pressure in the hypertensive situation. The pressure augmentation could not be observed when the systemic circulation was lumped into a (non-linear) three-element windkessel model, instead of using our TL model. Wave intensity analysis at the carotid artery indicated earlier arrival of reflected waves with hypertension as compared to normotension, in good qualitative agreement with findings in patients. In conclusion, we successfully embedded a TL model as a vascular module into the CircAdapt platform. The integrated CircAdapt-TL model allows detailed studies on mechanistic studies on heart-vessel interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Coronary Vessels / anatomy & histology
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Pulse Wave Analysis

Grant support

This study was funded by a Kootstra Talent Fellowship awarded to M.H.G. Heusinkveld. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.