Blood Vessel Physiology
This lab investigates the physical mechanisms by which our blood vessels function in allowing the circulatory system to do its job. Blood vessels are not simply rigid tubes that conduct blood to our tissues like copper pipes carrying water to our houses, nor are they infinitely extensible balloons that can accommodate any amount of blood pressure or volume. In fact, blood vessels have a complex composition that allows them to do several different jobs and change their function depending on the situation. In essence, blood vessels are a dynamic tissue rather than a static one. Just as with other organs of the body, blood vessels are complex in nature because of the demand for their complex function. When a disease state changes these properties, it can have devastating and often fatal effects. In this exercise students will use models of blood vessels to determine the effects of normal blood vessel distensibility on the dynamics of blood flow, and investigate the nature of aneurysms.