The extensive series of experiments reported in Lemons et al. [1] show that measureable local tissue temperature fluctuations are observed primarily in the vicinity of the 100–500 μm countercurrent vessels of the microcirculation and thus strongly support the basic hypothesis in the new bioheat equation of Weinbaum and Jiji [2] that these countercurrent microvessels are the principal determinants of local blood-tissue heat transfer. However, the detailed temperature profiles in the vicinity of these vessels indicate that large asymmetries in the local temperature field can result from the significant differences in size between the countercurrent artery and vein. Using the superposition techniques of Baish et al. [9], the paper first presents a solution to the classic problem of an unequal countercurrent heat exchanger with heat loss to the far field. This solution is then used to generalize the Weinbaum-Jiji bioheat equation and the conductivity tensor that appears in this equation to vessels of unequal size. An asymptotic analysis has also been developed to elucidate the relationship between the near field temperature of the artery-vein pair and the local average tissue temperature. This analysis is used to rigorously prove the closure approximation relating the local arterial-venous temperature difference and the mean tissue temperature gradient which had been derived in [2] using a more heuristic approach.

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