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Obstructions in Vascular Networks: Relation Between Network Morphology and Blood Supply

Authors: AM Torres Rojas, A Meza Romero, I Pagonabarraga, RDM Travasso, E Corvera Poiré

Ref.: PLoS ONE 10(6), e0128111 (2015)

Abstract: We relate vascular network structure to hemodynamics after vessel obstructions. We consider tree-like networks with a viscoelastic fluid with the rheological characteristics of blood. We analyze the network hemodynamic response, which is a function of the frequencies involved in the driving, and a measurement of the resistance to flow. This response function allows the study of the hemodynamics of the system, without the knowledge of a particular pressure gradient. We find analytical expressions for the network response, which explicitly show the roles played by the network structure, the degree of obstruction, and the geometrical place in which obstructions occur. Notably, we find that the sequence of resistances of the network without occlusions strongly determines the tendencies that the response function has with the anatomical place where obstructions are located. We identify anatomical sites in a network that are critical for its overall capacity to supply blood to a tissue after obstructions. We demonstrate that relatively small obstructions in such critical sites are able to cause a much larger decrease on flow than larger obstructions placed in non-critical sites. Our results indicate that, to a large extent, the response of the network is determined locally. That is, it depends on the structure that the vasculature has around the place where occlusions are found. This result is manifest in a network that follows Murray’s law, which is in reasonable agreement with several mammalian vasculatures. For this one, occlusions in early generation vessels have a radically different effect than occlusions in late generation vessels occluding the same percentage of area available to flow. This locality implies that whenever there is a tissue irrigated by a tree-like in vivo vasculature, our model is able to interpret how important obstructions are for the irrigation of such tissue.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128111

URL: journals.plos.org