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Comparison of vascular distensibility in the upper and lower extremity
Swedish Defence Research Agency, Defence Medicine, Berzelius v. 13, Karolinska Institutet.
Swedish Defence Research Agency, Defence Medicine, Berzelius v. 13, Karolinska Institutet.
2004 (English)In: Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-6772, E-ISSN 1365-201X, Vol. 181, no 3, 281-287 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: Because of the great differences in hydrostatic pressure acting along the blood vessels in the erect posture, leg vessels are exposed to greater transmural pressures than arm vessels. The in vivo pressure-distension relationship of arteries, arterioles and veins in the arm were compared with those of the leg. Methods: Experiments were performed with the subject (n = 11) positioned in a pressure chamber with an arm or lower leg (test limb) extended at heart level through a hole in the chamber door. Intravascular pressure in the arm/lower leg was increased by stepwise increasing chamber pressure to +180 and +210 mmHg, respectively. Diameters of blood vessels and arterial flow were measured using ultrasonographic/Doppler techniques. Changes in forearm and lower leg volumes were assessed using an impedance technique. The subject rated perceived pain in the test limb. Results: The brachial and radial arteries were found to be more distensible than the posterior tibial artery (P < 0.001). Likewise, the distension was more pronounced in the cephalic than in the great saphenous vein (P < 0.001). In the brachial artery, but not in the posterior tibial artery, flow increased markedly at the highest levels of distending pressure (P < 0.001). At the highest intravascular pressures, the rate of change in tissue impedance was greater in the forearm than the lower leg (P < 0.01). At any given level of markedly increased pressure, pain was rated higher in the arm than in the leg (P < 0.001). Conclusion: It seems that the wall stiffness of arteries, pre-capillary resistance vessels and veins adapts to meet the long-term demands imposed by the hydrostatic pressure acting locally on the vessel walls.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 181, no 3, 281-287 p.
Keyword [en]
arterial pressure, body position, gravity, local vascular resistance, vascular compliance, venous return
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25947DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-201X.2004.01291.xISI: 000222049400002PubMedID: 15196088OAI: diva2:361080
QC 20101108Available from: 2010-11-08 Created: 2010-11-08 Last updated: 2010-11-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Distensibility in Arteries, Arterioles and Veins in Humans: Adaptation to Intermittent or Prolonged Change in Regional Intravascular Pressure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distensibility in Arteries, Arterioles and Veins in Humans: Adaptation to Intermittent or Prolonged Change in Regional Intravascular Pressure
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present series of in vivo experiments in healthy subjects, were performed to investigate wall stiffness in peripheral vessels and how this modality adapts to iterative increments or sustained reductions in local intravascular pressures. Vascular stiffness was measured as changes in arterial and venous diameters, and in arterial flow, during graded increments in distending pressures in the vasculature of an arm or a lower leg. In addition, effects of intravascular pressure elevation on flow characteristics in veins, and on limb pain were elucidated. Arteries and veins were stiffer (i.e. pressure distension was less) in the lower leg than in the arm. The pressure-induced increase in arterial flow was substantially greater in the arm than in the lower leg, indicating a greater stiffness in the arterioles of the lower leg. Prolonged reduction of intravascular pressures in the lower body, induced by 5 wks of sustained horizontal bedrest (BR), decreased stiffness in the leg vasculature. BR increased pressure distension in the tibial artery threefold and in the tibial vein by 86 %. The pressure-induced increase in tibial artery flow was greater post bedrest, indicating reduced stiffness in the arterioles of the lower leg. Intermittent increases of intravascular pressures in one arm (pressure training; PT) during a 5-wk period decreased vascular stiffness. Pressure distension and pressure-induced flow in the brachial artery were reduced by about 50 % by PT. PT reduced pressure distension in arm veins by 30 to 50 %. High intravascular pressures changed venous flow to arterial-like pulsatile patterns, reflecting propagation of pulse waves from the arteries to the veins either via the capillary network or through arteriovenous anastomoses. High vascular pressures induced pain, which was aggravated by BR and attenuated by PT; the results suggest that the pain was predominantly caused by vascular overdistension. In conclusion, vascular wall stiffness constitutes a plastic modality that adapts to meet demands imposed by a change in the prevailing local intravascular pressure. That increased intravascular pressure leads to increased arteriolar wall stiffness supports the notion that local pressure load may serve as a “prime mover” in the development of vascular changes in hypertension.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. 51 p.
Trita-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2010:5
arterial stiffness, venous distensibility, venous flow characteristics, bedrest, pressure training
National Category
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25965 (URN)978-91-7415-778-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-11-26, sal 3:221, Alfreds Nobels Alle 10, Flemingsberg, Huddinge, 09:00 (Swedish)
medicine doktorsexamen QC 20101109Available from: 2010-11-09 Created: 2010-11-08 Last updated: 2012-03-20Bibliographically approved

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