Finite-element simulation of blood perfusion in muscle tissue during compression and sustained contraction

Wilhelmus J. Vankan, Jacques M. Huyghe, Dick W. Slaaf, Corrinus C. Van Donkelaar, Maarten R. Drost, Jan D. Janssen, Anthony Huson

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Mechanical interaction between tissue stress and blood perfusion in skeletal muscles plays an important role in blood flow impediment during sustained contraction. The exact mechanism of this interaction is not clear, and experimental investigation of this mechanism is difficult. We developed a finite-element model of the mechanical behavior of blood-perfused muscle tissue, which accounts for mechanical blood-tissue interaction in maximally vasodilated vasculature. Verification of the model was performed by comparing finite-element results of blood pressure and flow with experimental measurements in a muscle that is subject to well-controlled mechanical loading conditions. In addition, we performed simulations of blood perfusion during tetanic, isometric contraction and maximal vasodilation in a simplified, two-dimensional finite-element model of a rat calf muscle. A vascular waterfall in the venous compartment was identified as the main cause for blood flow impediment both in the experiment and in the finite-element simulations. The validated finite-element model offers possibilities for detailed analysis of blood perfusion in three-dimensional muscle models under complicated loading conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1587-H1594
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology : Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 1997


  • Intramuscular pressure
  • Mechanical blood-tissue interaction
  • Muscle contraction
  • Skeletal muscle mechanics
  • Vessel compliance


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