Velocity of Blood Flow in Normal Human Venae Cavae
The velocity of flow and pressure in the venae cavae of four normal conscious subjects was studied. Velocity was measured with a catheter-tip electromagnetic transducer. The effects of respiration, Valsalva and Müller maneuvers, coughing, and exercise were studied. Caval blood velocities during breath holding showed marked cardiac pulsations, being maximal at the time of ventricular systole and minimal or reversed at atrial systole. Peak velocities during ventricular systole ranged from 30 to 45 cm/sec in the inferior, and from 10 to 35 cm/sec in the superior, vena cava. A second diastolic forward flow velocity ranged from 36 to 76% of the systolic peak. During inspiration, velocity transiently increased. Reduction of flow velocity in abdominal breathing and the Müller maneuver is consistent with the formation of a local area of inferior vena caval collapse at the diaphragm. During the Valsalva maneuver, abrupt reduction in caval flow was seen that persisted throughout the strain. There was immediate overshoot when the strain was released. Coughing produced a reduction of flow velocity with backflow in the superior vena cava. In leg exercise, inferior caval flow velocity rose immediately, and it remained high during recovery. Marked respiratory velocity variations with inspiratory increases occurred during and after exercise.
- Valsalva maneuver
- electromagnetic velocity transducer
- Müller maneuver
- deep breathing
- collapsible tubes
- Accepted July 1, 1968.
- © 1968 American Heart Association, Inc.