Outflow boundary conditions for blood flow in arterial trees

Tao Du, Dan Hu, David Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the modeling of the pulse wave in the systemic arterial tree, it is necessary to truncate small arterial crowns representing the networks of small arteries and arterioles. Appropriate boundary conditions at the truncation points are required to represent wave reflection effects of the truncated arterial crowns. In this work, we provide a systematic method to extract parameters of the three-element Windkessel model from the impedance of a truncated arterial tree or from experimental measurements of the blood pressure and flow rate at the inlet of the truncated arterial crown. In addition, we propose an improved three-element Windkessel model with a complex capacitance to accurately capture the fundamental-frequency time lag of the reflection wave with respect to the incident wave. Through our numerical simulations of blood flow in a single artery and in a large arterial tree, together with the analysis of the modeling error of the pulse wave in large arteries, we show that both a small truncation radius and the complex capacitance in the improved Windkessel model play an important role in reducing the modeling error, defined as the difference in dynamics induced by the structured tree model and the Windkessel models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0128597
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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