Optimality principle in vascular bifurcation

Biorheology. 1987;24(6):737-51. doi: 10.3233/bir-1987-24624.


The optimal geometry of the vascular bifurcation is interpreted on the basis of the principle of minimum work. We consider the energy expenditure due to the viscosity of blood, and that for maintaining the metabolic states of the blood cells and of the vessel wall. It is shown that the optimal radii of the stem and branch vessels and the optimal branching angle are related to two parameters which represent the morphologic and metabolic states of the blood and the vessel wall. In the special case of symmetrical bifurcation, it was found that as the metabolic demand of the vessel wall becomes more apparent when compared with that of the blood, the branch radius relative to that of the stem takes values of from 0.794 down to 0.758 minimally, and the angle from 37.5 degrees up to 48.7 degrees maximally with respect to the direction of the stem.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / anatomy & histology*
  • Blood Vessels / physiology
  • Efficiency
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological