Biomedical Applications of Vibration and Acoustics in Imaging and Characterizations
9 Acoustic Response of the Human Arteries
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In hypertension and aging, central elastic arteries become stiffer, and hence, the central pulse pressure is augmented because of the increase in the pulse wave velocity and the early return of reflected waves to the heart from the periphery. Valuable information on arterial properties such as stiffness can be obtained from both central (aortic) and peripheral (radial) pressure waveforms. A feasibility study for the non-invasive estimation of arterial stiffness using pressure waves detected by a pneumatic cuff wrapped around the upper arm is presented. The propagation and reflection of arterial pressure waves (generated by the heart) in the central elastic arteries are simulated using a simplified water hammer acoustic model. Furthermore, a lumped parameter model is used to describe the transmission of the pressure waves from the brachial artery to the cuff external wall. By combining the two models, it is possible to simulate the pressure contours in the brachial artery and illustrate how these pressures transmit to the cuff's external wall. The effects of aortic stiffness, aortic geometrical variations, heart rate, and cuff pressure were investigated by simulating the model using different parameters and observing the pressure and strain augmentation and the timing of the return of the reflected wave. The model results obtained in this work are in agreement with published experimental results.