Computer modeling of red blood cell rheology in the microcirculation: A brief overview

Vittorio Cristini, Ghassan S. Kassab

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


One of the major functions of the cardiovascular system is to deliver blood to the microcirculation where exchange of mass and energy can take place. In the present article, we will provide an overview of the state-of-the-art computational methods for modeling of red blood cell (RBC) rheology and dynamics in the microcirculation. While significant progress has been made in simulation of single-file motion of deformable RBCs in capillaries and of diluted sheared suspensions of RBCs in infinite domains, detailed understanding of the mechanics of blood flow in intermediate diameter microvessels (8-1000μm) has presented formidable challenges. The difficulties are largely due to modeling the motion of multiple, interacting, highly deformable particles. The current computational tools consist mainly of three-dimensional (3D) boundary-integral methods for single RBC dynamics and deformation; and for rheology of large systems of droplets at large volume fractions using periodic boundary conditions and novel adaptive computational meshes. Further advances will result from combination of these tools to produce new algorithms capable of describing the motion and deformation of large systems of RBCs in microvessels at physiologically relevant volume fractions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1724-1727
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number12 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • 3D boundary-integrals
  • 3D mesh adaptivity
  • Microcirculation
  • Red blood cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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