Hemodynamic analysis of arterial blood flow in the coiled umbilical cord

Aaron D. Kaplan, Ariel J. Jaffa, Ilan E. Timor, David Elad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The most significant anatomical structure of the umbilical cord is its level of coiling. The coiled geometry of the umbilical cord largely affects umbilical blood flow that is vital for fetuss well-being and normal development. In this study, we developed a computational model of steady blood flow through the coiled structure of an umbilical artery. The results showed that the driving pressure for a given blood flow rate is increasing as the number of coils in cord structure increases. The driving gradient pressures also vary with the pitch that dictates the coils spreading. The coiled structure is resulting in interwoven streamlines along the helix and wall shear stresses (WSS) with significant spatial gradients along the cross-sectional perimeter anywhere within the helical coil. These gradients may have an adverse effect on the development of the fetus cardiovascular system in cases with over coiling (OC) or under coiling (UC) characteristics. The number of coils does not affect the distribution and levels of WSS. However, when the coils are more spread (eg, larger pitch number), the maximal WSS is significantly smaller. Cases with twisted and OC cords seem to yield very large values and gradients of WSS, which may place the fetus into high risk of abnormal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational model
  • Fetal circulation
  • Heart development.
  • Over coiling (OC)
  • Umbilical coiling index (UCI)
  • Under coiling (UC)
  • Wall shear stress


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