Mechanical buckling of veins under internal pressure

Ricky Martinez, Cesar A. Fierro, Paula K. Shireman, Hai Chao Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Venous tortuosity is associated with multiple disease states and is often thought to be a consequence of venous hypertension and chronic venous disease. However, the underlying mechanisms of vein tortuosity are unclear. We hypothesized that increased pressure causes vein buckling that leads to a tortuous appearance. The specific aim of this study was to determine the critical buckling pressure of veins. We determined the buckling pressure of porcine jugular veins and measured the mechanical properties of these veins. Our results showed that the veins buckle when the transmural pressure exceeds a critical pressure that is strongly related to the axial stretch ratio in the veins. The critical pressures of the eight veins tested were 14.2 ± 5.4 and 26.4 ± 9.0 mmHg at axial stretch ratio 1.5 and 1.7, respectively. In conclusion, veins buckle into a tortuous shape at high lumen pressures or reduced axial stretch ratios. Our results are useful in understanding the development of venous tortuosity associated with varicose veins, venous valvular insufficiency, diabetic retinopathy, and vein grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1353
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Critical buckling pressure
  • Mechanical stability
  • Porcine jugular veins
  • Tortuosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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