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Am J Physiol. 1992 Apr;262(4 Pt 2):H1156-63.

Perceived vessel lumen and cell-blood velocity ratio: impact on in vivo blood flow rate determination.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, University of Rochester, New York 14642.


Microscopic images of blood flow through individual capillary segments and divergent capillary bifurcations in cremaster muscle of golden hamster were videotaped, and the data from the videotapes (projected vessel image width and individual red cell velocities) were used in two ways to evaluate blood flow rate. The first method assumes 1) that the vessel lumen is circular with a diameter equal to the projected image width and 2) that the blood average velocity is proportional to the average red cell velocity. The second method makes neither of these assumptions but relies only on the principle of mass conservation. It is demonstrated that the two assumptions of the first method can lead to significant errors in hemodynamic relationships deduced from in vivo data. Although the second method cannot independently give absolute values of average velocity at one vessel location, it can give absolute values of the ratio of blood flow rates through two (or more) vascular lumina.

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