Hemodynamics is how your blood flows through your blood vessels. Many factors affect how well your blood can move throughout your body. Your heart and blood vessels can make adjustments to deliver enough oxygen for your body’s needs. Conditions that affect your circulatory system make it less efficient in delivering blood to your organs.
Hemodynamics is how your blood flows through your arteries and veins and the forces that affect your blood flow.
Normally, your blood flows in a laminar (streamlined) pattern. It flows fastest in the middle of a blood vessel, where there’s no friction with blood vessel walls.
However, the flow is turbulent in your ventricles (lower heart chambers) and in places where a vessel branches off or changes in diameter. You’ll need to use more energy to move blood that has a turbulent flow because it’s not moving efficiently.
Your aorta and its branches deliver a constant flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your body through smaller and smaller blood vessels. Once your organs extract the oxygen, the blood then returns to your heart via veins. Your heart then pumps the blood to your lungs to get oxygen and restart the cycle.
As blood travels through your blood vessels, it may have to flow over a type of “speed bump” when you have a collection of cholesterol that makes up plaque in an artery. These plaques can rupture and block an artery.
In addition, a blood clot can create an obstacle, too.
Your heart may be too weak to send your tissues as much blood and oxygen as they need.
Any of these issues makes it difficult for your circulatory system to do its job successfully and efficiently. That job is to send blood (which contains oxygen and nutrients) to all of your body’s cells, tissues and organs.
Hemodynamics are important because understanding the factors that affect your blood flow can help you understand your cardiovascular condition. For example, when you know that high blood pressure makes it harder for your heart to pump blood, it makes sense to take medicine that relaxes your blood vessels. Giving your blood more room to get through brings your blood pressure down.
Your provider can use hemodynamics to make a diagnosis and/or prognosis. They can see if your heart valve is leaking, which means all of the blood isn’t getting where it’s supposed to go. They can check to see if the surgery you had or medication you started taking has improved your blood flow.
No. Blood pressure is only part of what your provider considers when looking at your hemodynamics. Many other factors affect how your blood moves through your body.
Hemodynamic factors are things that affect how well your blood flows. They can make it easier or harder for your blood to get to your organs and tissues. Your body makes constant adjustments to give your cells what they need.
Hemodynamic factors include:
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Hemodynamic instability means your body can’t get enough blood flow. This is known as shock. There are several types, depending on the cause.
Your provider can use various tests to measure your hemodynamics.
Any cardiovascular condition that affects how well your blood flows affects your hemodynamics. Conditions that affect your hemodynamics include:
Problems with your hemodynamics will create symptoms, such as:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When you hear your healthcare provider talk about hemodynamics, they’re talking about your blood flow. If you have an issue with your heart or blood vessels, your blood may not be flowing well through your body. Your provider can evaluate you and give you a treatment that improves your blood flow. This may be medicine or surgery, depending on what’s wrong. Treating the issue is important so you can improve your cardiovascular system’s ability to send a constant supply of fresh oxygen to your body.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/09/2022.
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