Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 641–653 | Cite as

Steady Flow in a Patient-Averaged Inferior Vena Cava—Part I: Particle Image Velocimetry Measurements at Rest and Exercise Conditions

  • Maureen B. Gallagher
  • Kenneth I. Aycock
  • Brent A. Craven
  • Keefe B. Manning



Although many previous computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies have investigated the hemodynamics in the inferior vena cava (IVC), few studies have compared computational predictions to experimental data, and only qualitative comparisons have been made. Herein, we provide particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements of flow in a patient-averaged IVC geometry under idealized conditions typical of those used in the preclinical evaluation of IVC filters.


Measurements are acquired under rest and exercise flow rate conditions in an optically transparent model fabricated using 3D printing. To ensure that boundary conditions are well-defined and to make follow-on CFD validation studies more convenient, fully-developed flow is provided at the inlets (i.e., the iliac veins) by extending them with straight rigid tubing longer than the estimated entrance lengths. Velocity measurements are then obtained at the downstream end of the tubing to confirm Poiseuille inflow boundary conditions.


Measurements in the infrarenal IVC reveal that flow profiles are blunter in the sagittal plane (minor axis) than in the coronal plane (major axis). Peak in-plane velocity magnitudes are 4.9 cm/s and 27 cm/s under the rest and exercise conditions, respectively. Flow profiles are less parabolic and exhibit more inflection points at the higher flow rate. Bimodal velocity peaks are also observed in the sagittal plane at the elevated flow condition.


The IVC geometry, boundary conditions, and infrarenal velocity measurements are provided for download on a free and publicly accessible repository at These data will facilitate future CFD validation studies of idealized, in vitro IVC hemodynamics and of similar laminar flows in vascular geometries.


Inferior vena cava Hemodynamics Particle image velocimetry Verification and validation 



We thank Prasanna Hariharan for reviewing the manuscript and for helpful discussions. This study was supported by the FDA Critical Path Initiative (HHSF223201610405P) and the Penn State College of Engineering Instrumentation Grant. The findings and conclusions in this article have not been formally disseminated by the U.S. FDA and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy. The mention of commercial products, their sources, or their use in connection with material reported herein is not to be construed as either an actual or implied endorsement of such products by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied Mechanics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological HealthUnited States Food and Drug AdministrationSilver SpringUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryPenn State Hershey Medical CenterHersheyUSA

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