An Explanation of Asymmetric Upper Extremity Blood Pressures in Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis
The Coanda Effect
The Coanda effect, the tendency of a jet stream to adhere to a wall, was investigated as an explanation of the unequal pressures in the upper extremities in patients with supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS). Of 56 patients with SVAS reviewed, 48 had unequal blood pressures in the upper extremities. The average difference was 18 mm Hg systolic. Although 11 of the 20 patients in the control group (valvular aortic stenosis) had some blood pressure asymmetry, the average difference was 3.5 mm Hg systolic. In valvular aortic stenosis, the velocity of the jet is quickly dissipated beyond the stenotic orifice, preventing any sustained high-velocity stream. However, the smooth, annular narrowing of SVAS creates a "step" between the orifice and the ascending aortic wall which enhances the natural affinity of a jet for a boundary wall and conserves the kinetic energy of the jet stream. In most patients with SVAS, the high-velocity stream is along the right aortic wall, causing disproportionately high pressure in the right arm.
- Received January 29, 1970.
- Accepted April 22, 1970.
- © 1970 American Heart Association, Inc.