Spatial Distributions of Red Blood Cells Significantly Alter Local Haemodynamics
Imaging-based blood flow measurement techniques, such as particle image velocimetry, have become an important tool in cardiovascular research. They provide quantitative information about blood flow, which benefits applications ranging from developmental biology to tumor perfusion studies. Studies using these methods can be classified based on whether they use artificial tracers or red blood cells to visualize the fluid motion. We here present the first direct comparison in vivo of both methods. For high magnification cases, the experiments using red blood cells strongly underestimate the flow (up to 50% in the present case), as compared to the tracer results. For medium magnification cases, the results from both methods are indistinguishable as they give the same underestimation of the real velocities (approximately 33%, based on in vitro reference measurements). These results suggest that flow characteristics reported in literature cannot be compared without a careful evaluation of the imaging characteristics. A method to predict the expected flow averaging behavior for a particular facility is presented.