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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2009 Mar;292(3):311-9. doi: 10.1002/ar.20808.

Quantitative measurement of blood flow dynamics in embryonic vasculature using spectral Doppler velocimetry.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. am50@


The biophysical effects of blood flow are known to influence the structure and function of adult cardiovascular systems. Similar effects on the maturation of the cardiovascular system have been difficult to directly and non-invasively measure due to the small size of the embryo. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been shown to provide high spatial and temporal structural imaging of the early embryonic chicken heart. We have developed an extension of Doppler OCT, called spectral Doppler velocimetry (SDV), that will enable direct, non-invasive quantification of blood flow and shear rate from the early embryonic cardiovascular system. Using this technique, we calculated volumetric flow rate and shear rate from chicken embryo vitelline vessels. We present blood flow dynamics and spatial velocity profiles from three different vessels in the embryo as well as measurements from the outflow tract of the embryonic heart tube. This technology can potentially provide spatial mapping of blood flow and shear rate in embryonic cardiovascular structures, producing quantitative measurements that can be correlated with gene expression and normal and abnormal morphology.

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