A Numerical Study of Plasma Skimming in Small Vascular Bifurcations

[+] Author and Article Information
G. Enden, A. S. Popel

Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205

J Biomech Eng 116(1), 79-88 (Feb 01, 1994) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2895708 History: Received May 18, 1992; Revised January 18, 1993; Online March 17, 2008


Owing in part to a plasma-skimming mechanism, the distribution of red blood cells (RBCs) into branches of microvascular bifurcations typically differs from the distribution of the bulk blood flow. This paper analyzes the plasma-skimming mechanism that causes phase separation due to uneven distribution of red blood cells at the inlet cross section of the parent vessel. In a previous study, the shape of the surface that divides the flow into the branches was found by numerical simulation of three-dimensional flow of a homogeneous Newtonian fluid in T-type bifurcations. Those findings are used in this study to determine, as a first approximation, the side-to-parent vessel RBC flux ratio and discharge hematocrit ratio as a function of corresponding flow ratios. Calculations are based on the assumption that RBCs move along streamlines of a homogeneous Newtonian fluid and are uniformly distributed within a concentric core at the inlet cross section of the parent vessel. The results of our calculations agree well for a wide range of flow parameters with experimental data from in vivo and in vitro studies.

Copyright © 1994 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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