Pressure and Flow Relations in the Systemic Arterial Tree Throughout Development From Newborn to Adult

Berend E. Westerhof, Martin J. C. van Gemert, Jeroen P. van den Wijngaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Distributed models of the arterial tree allow studying the effect of physiological and pathophysiological changes in the vasculature on hemodynamics. For the adult, several models exist; however, a model encompassing the full age range from newborn to adult was until now lacking. Our goal is to describe a complete distributed hemodynamic model for normal development from newborn to adult. Methods: The arterial system was modeled by 121 segments characterized by length, radius, wall thickness, wall stiffness, and wall viscosity. The final segments ended in three-element Windkessels. All parameters were adapted based on body height and weight as a function of age as described in the literature. Results: Pressures and flows are calculated as a function of age at sites along the arterial tree. Central to peripheral transfer functions are given. Our results indicate that peripheral pressure in younger children resembles central pressure. Furthermore, total arterial compliance, inertance and impedance are calculated. Findings indicate that the arterial tree can be simulated by using a three-element Windkessel system. Pulse wave velocity in the aorta was found to increase during development. Conclusions: The arterial system, modeled from newborn to adult bears clinical significance, both for the interpretation of peripheral measured pressure in younger and older children, and for using a Windkessel model to determine flow from pressure measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number251
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020

Cite this