Constructive and destructive addition of forward and reflected arterial pulse waves. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although the physics of arterial pulse wave propagation and reflection is well understood, there is considerable debate as to the effect of reflection on vascular input impedance (Z(in)), pulsatile pressure, and stroke work (SW). This may be related to how reflection is studied. Conventionally, reflection is experimentally abolished (thus radically changing unrelated parameters), or a specific model is assumed from which reflection can be removed (yielding model-dependent results). The present work proposes a simple, model-independent method to evaluate the effect of reflection directly from measured pulsatile pressure (P) and flow (Q). Because characteristic impedance (Z(0)) is Z(in) in the absence of reflection, the P with reflection theoretically removed can be calculated from Q x Z(0). Applying this insight to an illustrative case indicates that reflection has the least effect on P and SW at normal pressure but a greater effect with vasodilation and vasoconstriction. Z(in), P, and SW are increased or decreased depending on the relative amount of constructive and destructive addition of forward and reflected arterial pulse waves.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Quick, C. M., Berger, D. S., & Noordergraaf, A.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Quick, CM||Berger, DS||Noordergraaf, A

publication date

  • April 2001