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Eur Respir Rev. 2010 Sep;19(117):197-203. doi: 10.1183/09059180.00002210.

The arterial load in pulmonary hypertension.

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  • 1Dept of Pulmonary Diseases, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The anatomical differences between the pulmonary and systemic arterial system are the main cause of the difference in distribution of compliance. In the pulmonary arterial system compliance is distributed over the entire arterial system, and stands at the basis of the constancy of the RC-time. This distribution depends on the number of peripheral vessels, which is ∼8-10 times more in the pulmonary system than the systemic tree. In the systemic arterial tree the compliance is mainly located in the aorta (80% of total compliance in thoracic-abdominal aorta). The constant RC-time in the pulmonary bed results in proportionality of systolic and diastolic pressure with mean pressure and, in turn, in the constant ratio of oscillatory and mean power.

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