Law of Laplace

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
  • Mark I. M. Noble
  • Berend E. Westerhof


The law of Laplace relates transmural pressure with wall stress. In a (cylindrical) blood vessel and in a (spherical) heart model there exists a simple relation between pressure and circumferential wall stress. The law gives the average stress over the wall, thus how the stress varies over the wall cannot be derived. The law holds only for simple geometries, such as cylindrical blood vessels. Cardiac wall stress estimates require more sophisticated models.


Transmural pressure Wall thickness Wall stress Cylinder Sphere Geometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
    • 2
  • Mark I. M. Noble
    • 3
  • Berend E. Westerhof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Amsterdam Cardiovascular SciencesVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular TechnologyEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of BioengineeringLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine and TherapeuticsUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUnited Kingdom

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