The Effects of Arterial Elasticity in Blood Pressure

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	Arterial elasticity, the amount that an artery can distend or deform or 
put another way its compliance, is important for a couple of reasons.  The first
is that by having a deformable section present as blood is pumped out of the heart
the outflow can be regulated to some degree.  Meaning that since the heart releases
its output in sudden bursts, rather than a simgle continuous flow, having elastic 
arterial walls helps even out the flow from the heart such that the output pressure
and flow remain constant.  A contrasting point would be if the artery was rigid, 
then each time between outputs there would be a drop in both pressure and flow for 
the rest of the system.
	The other important effect of arterial elasticity is the amount of work
the left heart has to perform in order maintain the same amount of pressure and 
flow.  When the elasticity decreases, as happens with age in general (atheroscler-
osis), and the walls can no longer expand to accept the out going blood the left
heart must work harder so that approximately the same amount of blood is pushed
out.  For younger people, however, this is not usually a problem, allowing for
normal heart funtion with less of a work requirement.
	

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Sample Problems:





1)  What is the major factor for arterial hardening and what condition does it
    it cause?

2)  What are two physical factors that combine to make up arterial blood 
    pressure?


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Answers:





1)  Age, atherosclerosis.

2)  Arterial blood volume and arterial compliance.



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For more information on this topic, please refer to Berne & Levy , pages 137-147

Also, check out the following links that may be helpful:

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Or, Jump to Lesson Number:


respiratory
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | Exam #1
auditory
17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | Exam #2
cardiovascular
28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | Exam #3

No!
Please don't make me go to any of those pages!
I want to go somewhere completely different!

This page was written by Dana Craig , yet another student in this course.

BME 403 Pages maintained by the T.A., Douglas Miles.