A unique, air-based system has been developed and implemented for rapid and accurate determination of pressure drop versus flow rate characteristics of generic catheter lumens; dimensionless scaling parameters can be effectively used to express these characteristics in units of blood flow used in the clinical setting. Theoretical models are compared with experimental data. For flow and geometric parameters of practical importance, the pronounced effect of developing flow in the lumen must be accounted for in calculation of the pressure drop along the lumen. That is, the theory of classical Poiseuille flow substantially underpredicts the pressure drop. Moreover, a side hole can induce significant, and in some cases large, values of pressure drop, even when the area of the hole exceeds the cross-sectional area of the lumen.