Affiliation: International Centre of Circulatory Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, 59-61 North Wharf Road, London, W2 1LA, UK.
Coronary artery hemodynamics are very different to that of the systemic arteries; unlike the systemic circulation, in the coronary circulation pressure is generated from both the proximal and distal end of the artery – due to the effect of contraction and relaxation of the myocardium on the microvasculature. As a result, the systemic artery hemodynamic model cannot be used to explain the pressure-flow relationship in the coronaries. Wave intensity analysis is an investigative tool that is able to distinguish simultaneous proximal and distal influences on coronary blood flow and is therefore uniquely suitable for the study of coronary haemodynamics. This review discusses the concept behind waveintensity analysis and evaluates how it has been used to characterise and provide new insights on coronary haemodynamics in health and disease.