The calf muscle pump is a mechanism which increases venous return and thereby compensates for the fluid shift towards the lower body during standing. During a muscle contraction, the embedded deep veins collapse and venous return increases. In the subsequent relaxation phase, muscle perfusion increases due to increased perfusion pressure, as the proximal venous valves temporarily reduce the distal venous pressure (shielding). The superficial and deep veins are connected via perforators, which contain valves allowing flow in the superficial-to-deep direction. The aim of this study is to investigate and quantify the physiological mechanisms of the calf muscle pump, including the effect of venous valves, hydrostatic pressure, and the superficial venous system. Using a one-dimensional pulse wave propagation model, a muscle contraction is simulated by increasing the extravascular pressure in the deep venous segments. The hemodynamics are studied in three different configurations: a single artery-vein configuration with and without valves and a more detailed configuration including a superficial vein. Proximal venous valves increase effective venous return by 53% by preventing reflux. Furthermore, the proximal valves shielding function increases perfusion following contraction. Finally, the superficial system aids in maintaining the perfusion during the contraction phase and reduces the refilling time by 37%.
|Journal||International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2015|
- muscle pump
- collapsible vein
- 1D pulse wave propagation
- venous valves
- orthostatic intolerance