Mechanical buckling of veins under internal pressure. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Ann Biomed Eng

author list (cited authors)

  • Martinez, R., Fierro, C. A., Shireman, P. K., & Han, H.

complete list of authors

  • Martinez, Ricky||Fierro, Cesar A||Shireman, Paula K||Han, Hai-Chao

publication date

  • April 2010