In vivo and in vitro measurements of pulmonary arterial stiffness: a brief review

Lian Tian, Naomi C. Chester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


During the progression of pulmonary hypertension (PH), proximal pulmonary arteries (PAs) undergo remodeling such that they become thicker and the elastic modulus increases. Both of these changes increase the vascular stiffness. The increase in pulmonary vascular stiffness contributes to increased right ventricular (RV) afterload, which causes RV hypertrophy and eventually failure. Studies have found that proximal PA stiffness or its inverse, compliance, is strongly related to morbidity and mortality in patients with PH. Therefore, accurate in vivo measurement of PA stiffness is useful for prognoses in patients with PH. It is also important to understand the structural changes in PAs that occur with PH that are responsible for stiffening. Here, we briefly review the most common parameters used to quantify stiffness and in vivo and in vitro methods for measuring PA stiffness in human and animal models. For in vivo approaches, we review invasive and noninvasive approaches that are based on measurements of pressure and inner or outer diameter or cross-sectional area. For in vitro techniques, we review several different testing methods that mimic one, two or several aspects of physiological loading (e.g., uniaxial and biaxial testing, dynamic inflation-force testing). Many in vivo and in vitro measurement methods exist in the literature, and it is important to carefully choose an appropriate method to measure PA stiffness accurately. Therefore, advantages and disadvantages of each approach are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-517
Number of pages13
JournalPulmonary Circulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • pulmonary arterial stiffness
  • pulmonary artery
  • pulmonary hypertension

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