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Pulse wave velocity as a diagnostic Index: The pitfalls of tethering versus stiffening of the arterial wall.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21334629     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is often used as a clinical index of aging, vascular disease, or age related hypertension. This practice is based on the assumption that a higher wave speed indicates vascular stiffening. This assumption is well grounded in the physics of pulsatile flow of an incompressible fluid where it is fully established that a pulse wave travels faster in a tube of stiffer wall, the wave speed becoming infinite in the mathematical limit of a rigid wall. However, in this paper we point out that the physical principal of higher pulse wave velocity in a stiffer tube is strictly valid only when the wall is free from outside constraints, which in the physiological setting is present in the form of tethering of the vessel wall. The use of PWV as an index of arterial stiffening may thus lose its validity if tethering is involved. A solution of the problem of vessel wall mechanics as they arise from the physiological pulsatile flow problem is presented for the purpose of resolving this issue. The vessel wall is considered to have finite thickness with or without tethering and with a range of mechanical properties ranging from viscoelastic to stiff. The results show that, indeed, while the wave speed becomes infinite in the mathematical limit of a rigid free wall, the opposite actually happens if the vessel wall is tethered. Here the wave speed actually diminishes as the degree of tethering increases. This dichotomy in the effects of tethering versus stiffening of the arterial wall may clearly lead to error in the interpretation of PWV as an index of vessel wall stiffness. In particular, a normal value of PWV may lead to the conclusion that vessel wall stiffening is absent while this value may in fact have been lowered by tethering. In other words, the diagnostic test may lead to a false negative diagnosis. Our results indicate that the reason for which PWV is lower in a tethered wall compared with that in a free wall of the same stiffness is that the radial movements of the wall are greatly reduced by tethering. More precisely, the results show that PWV depends strongly on the ratio of radial to axial displacements and that this ratio is much lower in a tethered wall than it is in a free wall of the same stiffness.
S Hodis; M Zamir
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-2-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of biomechanics     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1873-2380     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-2-21     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0157375     Medline TA:  J Biomech     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada N6A 5B7.
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