Mathematical model of blood flow in a coronary capillary

G. Fibich, Y. Lanir*, N. Liron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The coronary capillary flow is analyzed theoretically based on continuum mechanics. The capillary is a long, elastic, and permeable vessel loaded externally by tissue pressure, and it is subject to possible periodic length changes, together with adjacent myocytes. Capillary flow is driven by arteriolar-venular pressure difference. Ultrafiltration due to transmural hydrostatic and osmotic gradients is included, and consideration of mass conservation leads to a nonlinear flow equation. The results show that under physiological conditions ultrafiltration is of minor importance, and the analysis predicts regional differences in capillary flow. In regions with high tissue pressure (subendocardium), capillaries undergo significant periodic volume changes, giving rise to intramyocardial pumping. In those regions, capillary wall elasticity is of major-importance. In regions with low tissue pressure (subepicardium), the possible periodic capillary length changes are predominant. The predicted flow patterns are in good qualitative agreement with measured epicardial phasic flow. In conclusion, the methodological advantage of a distributive analysis is demonstrated by its ability to elucidate and evaluate the role of flow determinants and their complex interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1829-H1840
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 34-5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • capillary flow
  • coronary circulation
  • distributive analysis


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