The Importance of Hemorheology and Patient Anatomy on the Hemodynamics in the Inferior Vena Cava

Kenneth I. Aycock, Robert Lee Campbell, Frank Lynch, Keefe B. Manning, Brent A. Craven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have been used for nearly half a century to prevent pulmonary embolism in at-risk patients. However, complications with IVC filters remain common. In this study, we investigate the importance of considering the hemorheological and morphological effects on IVC hemodynamics by simulating Newtonian and non-Newtonian blood flow in three IVC models with varying levels of geometric idealization. Partial occlusion by an IVC filter and a thrombus is also considered. More than 99% of the infrarenal IVC volume is found to contain flow in the nonlinear region of the shear rate–viscosity curve for blood (less than 100 s−1) in the unoccluded IVCs. Newtonian simulations performed using the asymptotic viscosity for blood over-predict the non-Newtonian Reynolds numbers by more than a factor of two and under-predict the mean wall shear stress (WSS) by 28–54%. Agreement with the non-Newtonian simulations is better using a characteristic viscosity, but local WSS errors are still large (up to 50%) in the partially occluded cases. Secondary flow patterns in the IVC also depend on the viscosity model and IVC morphological complexity. Non-Newtonian simulations required only a marginal increase in computational expense compared with the Newtonian simulations. We recommend that future studies of IVC hemodynamics consider the effects of hemorheology and IVC morphology when accurate predictions of WSS and secondary flow features are desired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3568-3582
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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