What is windkessel effect?

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Windkessel effect refers to the compliance of the aorta with the arterial pressure wave, produced by the ejection volume from the left ventricle (LV). The measured systolic arterial blood pressure is largely a function of this. With atherosclerosis, the aorta stiffens and cannot absorb the pressure wave by expanding a bit. The result is that the pressure wave is less damped and carries though to the peripheral arteries where it manifests as elevated systolic blood pressure. This condition can also lead to LV enlargement and various degrees of heart failure due to increased arterial resistance. This will feed back to the RV. The most common cause of RV failure is LV failure. The failing heart will also be reflected in a rising diastolic arterial blood pressure.

answered Jul 25, 2012 by mishel Pre-med (240 points)
selected Jul 25, 2012 by Sulabh Shrestha

Large arteries like aorta and its branches have high elasticity. When blood is pumped into these vessels by heart during systole, the vessel expand to accomodate some excess blood temporarily. During diastole, when heart is not pumping, their elastic walls recoil and blood in them is propelled forward. These vessels are called windkessel vessel.


  1. During ventricular diastole, although ventricular pressure falls very low, aorta is able to maintain diastole BP of 80mmHg.

  2. During ventricular systole, it prevents too much rise in pressure

  3. Atherosclerosis in old age leads to loss of windkessel effect causing systolic hypertension

answered Jul 4, 2012 by Sulabh Shrestha Doctor of Medicine (5,553 points)

Windkessel effect , used in medicine is a term, to account for the shape of the arterial blood pressure waveform in terms of the interaction between the stroke volume and the compliance of the aorta and large elastic arteries (Windkessel vessels). Windkessel means in english is 'air chamber',but is generally taken to imply an elastic reservoir

answered Jul 10, 2012 by Eithan pitt Intern (1,025 points)

Windkessel effect is the accommodative response of the aorta to cardiac systole and diastole in maintaining systemic circulation. In systole, the blood from the left ventricle is received and propelled by the aorta on account of its inherent elasticity and during diastole, the systemic circulation is maintained by the pre-created energy in the aorta.

answered Dec 2, 2013 by anonymous