Wave reflections

Clinical and therapeutic aspects
  • Gérard M. London
  • Toshio Yaginuma
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 144)


Ejection of blood during contraction of the left ventricle generates a pressure wave which is propagated along the arterial tree and which is perceived in the peripheral arteries as the arterial pulse. As the pressure wave moves away from the heart, part of the energy is reflected back at various sites of the arterial tree. The forward and backward pressure waves merge to produce a characteristic arterial pressure wave [1–3] (Figure 1). The existence of wave reflections is demonstrated by at least two fundamental phenomena:
  • — the radically different shapes of flow and pressure waves in the ascending aorta, since in the absence of reflected waves the flow and pressure waves would be almost identical [1–3]; and

  • — the different pressure amplitudes and waveforms in the aorta and peripheral arteries, with an increased pulse amplitude along the arterial tree with systolic pressure usually higher and diastolic pressure lower in the peripheral arteries [1–3]. This peripheral amplification of pulse and systolic pressures contrasts with an almost constant mean blood pressure whose pressure drop between ascending aorta and radial artery does not exceed 3 mmHg[4, 5].


Pulse Pressure Pulse Wave Velocity Pressure Wave Wave Reflection Arterial Tree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gérard M. London
  • Toshio Yaginuma

There are no affiliations available

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