Clinical Importance of the Compliant Conduit

  • Joseph Megerman
  • William M. Abbott
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 166)


A primary physiological function of the aorta and its major branches is to convert the highly pulsatile output of the left ventricle to a more nearly uniform and steady flow in the arterioles and capillaries, with a minimum loss of energy (McDonald, 1974). This requires that peripheral vascular input impedance (which is a complex function of arterial resistance, fluid inertance, and arterial compliance [capacitance, distensibility]) be matched to the output impedance of the heart. Thus, a complete mechanical description of the heart and its prospective replacements, or fluid mechanical description of blood flow in the major arteries must take into account arterial compliance. Compliance is defined in this chapter as the fractional change in volume per unit change in pressure: C=(ΔV/V)/ΔP. For cylinders of fixed length, a good approximation to the major blood vessels, this simplifies to twice the fractional change in diameter per unit change in pressure: C=2(ΔD/ΔP)/D. However, it has become commonplace with many authors (Baird, 1977; Megerman and Abbott, 1983; Klein et al.,1982) to omit the constant multiplier, “2”, and this practice will be followed here as well [i.e. C=(ΔD/D)/ΔP; units: % change in diameter/100 mmHg].


Pulse Wave Velocity Graft Failure Intimal Hyperplasia Vascular Graft Arterial Compliance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Megerman
    • 1
  • William M. Abbott
    • 1
  1. 1.Vascular Research Laboratory, Surgical Services Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of SurgeryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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