Pulse wave propagation

J. K.J. Li, J. Melbin, R. A. Riffle, A. Noordergraaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This report evaluates pulse wave propagation with respect to contributions by vascular wall elastic and geometric properties, vessel wall and blood viscosity, and nonlinearities in system parameters and in the equations of motion. Discrepancies in results obtained with different experimental methods and theory are discussed and resolved. A three-point pressure technique was used to obtain measurements from the abdominal aorta, carotid, iliac, and femoral arteries of dogs. Computations involved linear, as well as nonlinear methods. Results are presented along a continuous path of transmission (abdominal aorta, iliac, femoral), and it is shown that variations in phase velocity can be explained entirely by the geometric variation of these vessels. Phase velocities are shown to be frequency independent at ~>4 Hz whereas attenuation increases progressively for higher frequencies. Determination of propagation coefficients using maximal, compounded values of reported viscoelastic and geometric properties just manages to span the range of phase velocities, determined in different laboratories, but does not do so for attenuation. Also, differences in experimental techniques cannot explain these discrepancies. Consideration of geometric taper, nonlinear compliance, all the terms in the equation of motion, and the effect of wall and blood viscosity resolves discrepancies between theoretical models and experimentally derived phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-452
Number of pages11
JournalCirculation research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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