The role of vascular capacitance in the coronary arteries.
When the left coronary artery was perfused with nonpulsatile pressure, the onset of diastole was accompanied by a capacitance overshoot in flow with an exponential decay back to a steady state. Time constant for that decay ranged from 55 msec when tone was present to 105 msec with maximal dilation. Since the transient resulted from a fall in tissue pressure, this represents an estimation of intramural arterial capacitance only. Transients in perfusion pressure, which would also affect epicardial arteries, yielded similar time constants. We concluded that most of the coronary capacitance resides in the small intramural vessels. Analysis of transients yielded a value for capacitance of between 0.01 and 0.05 ml/mm Hg per 100 g. We then used the data from the transients to construct coronary pressure flow curves which were free of any back flow from capacitance. When coronary tone was present, the curves indicated that flow ceased at 30 mm Hg. With maximal dilation, flow ceased at only 18 mm Hg. Long diastoles in those same hearts indicated that flow ceased at about 10 mm Hg higher pressure. Although capacitance causes critical closing pressure as determined by a long diastole to be artifactually high, critical closing pressure is still appreciable in the heart, and tone dependent. Finally, three computer models were built, one of which included only small vessel capacitances, the second, only vascular waterfalls, and the third, both of the above. Only model 3 was capable of reproducing the flow patterns which were actually seen.
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association