In nonlinear mathematical models of the arterial circulation, the viscoelasticity of the vessel walls has generally been neglected or only taken into account in a highly approximate manner. A new method is proposed to simulate the nonlinear viscoelastic properties of the wall material with the aid of a convolution integral of the creep function and the pressure history. With this simulation it is possible to properly describe the measured characteristics of arterial viscoelasticity. Moreover, it is utilized in a mathematical model of arterial pulse propagation to study the influence of the internal wall friction on the shape, amplitude and mean value of pressure and flow pulses. The corresponding predictions are in much better agreement with in-vivo measurements, especially for the distal part of the circulation, than those obtained without viscoelasticity.

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