Determinants of Pressure and Flow

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
  • Mark I. M. Noble
  • Berend E. Westerhof


Pressure and flow result from the interaction of the heart, the pump, and the arterial system, the load. The heart can be described on the basis of the pressure-volume relation, and the arterial load, by a Windkessel. The total number of parameters to describe cardiac pump function is 6, and for the three-element Windkessel it is 3. Using this limited number of parameters and dimensional analysis, the quantitative contribution of heart and load to systolic, diastolic pressure and Stroke Volume can be worked out. The normalized E(t) curve describing, the heart and the normalized input impedance, describing the arterial system, are similar in mammals, explaining the similarities of pressure and flow wave shapes in mammals. The contribution of heart and load in hypertension can be quantified.


Varying elastance Windkessel Input impedance Dimensional analysis Hypertension 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
    • 2
  • Mark I. M. Noble
    • 3
  • Berend E. Westerhof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Amsterdam Cardiovascular SciencesVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular TechnologyEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of BioengineeringLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine and TherapeuticsUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUnited Kingdom

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