Steady Flow in a Patient-Averaged Inferior Vena Cava—Part I: Particle Image Velocimetry Measurements at Rest and Exercise Conditions

Maureen B. Gallagher, Kenneth I. Aycock, Brent A. Craven, Keefe B. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although many previous computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies have investigated the hemodynamics in the inferior vena cava (IVC), few studies have compared computational predictions to experimental data, and only qualitative comparisons have been made. Herein, we provide particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements of flow in a patient-averaged IVC geometry under idealized conditions typical of those used in the preclinical evaluation of IVC filters. Methods: Measurements are acquired under rest and exercise flow rate conditions in an optically transparent model fabricated using 3D printing. To ensure that boundary conditions are well-defined and to make follow-on CFD validation studies more convenient, fully-developed flow is provided at the inlets (i.e., the iliac veins) by extending them with straight rigid tubing longer than the estimated entrance lengths. Velocity measurements are then obtained at the downstream end of the tubing to confirm Poiseuille inflow boundary conditions. Results: Measurements in the infrarenal IVC reveal that flow profiles are blunter in the sagittal plane (minor axis) than in the coronal plane (major axis). Peak in-plane velocity magnitudes are 4.9 cm/s and 27 cm/s under the rest and exercise conditions, respectively. Flow profiles are less parabolic and exhibit more inflection points at the higher flow rate. Bimodal velocity peaks are also observed in the sagittal plane at the elevated flow condition. Conclusions: The IVC geometry, boundary conditions, and infrarenal velocity measurements are provided for download on a free and publicly accessible repository at These data will facilitate future CFD validation studies of idealized, in vitro IVC hemodynamics and of similar laminar flows in vascular geometries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalCardiovascular Engineering and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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