Venous tortuosity is associated with multiple disease states and is often thought to be a consequence of venous hypertension and chronic venous disease. However, the underlying mechanisms of vein tortuosity are unclear. We hypothesized that increased pressure causes vein buckling that leads to a tortuous appearance. The specific aim of this study was to determine the critical buckling pressure of veins. We determined the buckling pressure of porcine jugular veins and measured the mechanical properties of these veins. Our results showed that veins buckle when the transmural pressure exceeds a critical pressure that is strongly related to the axial stretch ratio in the veins. The critical pressures of the eight veins tested were 14.2 ± 5.4 mmHg and 26.4 ± 9.0 mmHg at axial stretch ratio 1.5 and 1.7, respectively. In conclusion, veins buckle into a tortuous shape at high lumen pressures or reduced axial stretch ratios. Our results are useful in understanding the development of venous tortuosity associated with varicose veins, venous valvular insufficiency, diabetic retinopathy and vein grafts.
Though tortuous veins are widely observed, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Venous tortuosity may affect blood flow and venous wall remodeling and therefore be associated with venous diseases. It has been reported that tortuous veins lead to sluggish blood flow and thrombosis.
Veins in MS patients have been described as tortuous. It's not a good thing.