Aortic function quantified: the heart's essential cushion
Journal of applied physiology
Saouti N, Marcus JT, Vonk Noordegraaf A, Westerhof N. Aortic function quantified: the heart's essential cushion. Arterial compliance is mainly determined by the elasticity of proximal large-conduit arteries of which the aorta is the largest contributor. Compliance forms an important part of the cardiac load and plays a role in organ (especially coronary) perfusion. To follow local changes in aortic compliance, as in aging, noninvasive determination of compliance distribution would be of great
... lue. Our goal is to determine regional aortic compliance noninvasively in the human. In seven healthy individuals at six locations, aortic blood flow and systolic/diastolic area (⌬A) was measured with MRI. Simultaneously brachial pulse pressure (⌬P) was measured with standard cuff. With a transfer function we derived ⌬P at the same aortic locations as the MRI measurements. Regional aortic compliance was calculated with two approaches, the pulse pressure method, and local area compliance (⌬A/⌬P) times segment length, called area compliance method. For comparison, pulse wave velocity (PWV) from local flows at two locations was determined, and compliance was derived from PWV. Both approaches show that compliance is largest in the proximal aorta and decreases toward the distal aorta. Similar results were found with PWV-derived compliance. Of total arterial compliance, ascending to distal arch (segments 1-3) contributes 40% (of which 15% is in head and arms), descending aorta (segments 4 and 5) 25%, and "hip, pelvic and leg arteries" 20%. Pulse pressure method includes compliance of side branches and is therefore larger than the area compliance method. Regional aortic compliance can be obtained noninvasively. Therefore, this technique allows following changes in local compliance with age and cardiovascular diseases.