Vein tortuosity is often seen as a consequence of venous hypertension and chronic venous disease. However, the underlying mechanism of vein tortuosity is unclear. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that hypertensive pressure causes vein buckling that leads to tortuous veins. We determined the buckling pressure of porcine jugular veins and tested the mechanical properties of these veins. Our results demonstrated that veins buckle when the transmural pressure exceeds a critical pressure that is not much higher than normal venous pressure. The critical pressure was found to be strongly related to the axial strain in the veins. Our results are useful in understanding the development of varicose veins.

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