Cardiovascular function following reduced aerobic activity

Peter B. Raven, Rita M. Welch-O'Connor, Xiangrong Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that a sustained reduction of physical activity (deconditioning) would alter the cardiovascular regulatory function. Methods: Nineteen young, healthy volunteers participated in physical deconditioning for a period of 8 wk. Before (pre) and following (post) physical deconditioning, the responses of heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP, measured by Finapres), central venous pressure (CVP), stroke volume (SV, Doppler), and forearm blood flow (FBF, plethysmography) were determined during lower body negative pressure (LBNP). The carotid baroreflex (CBR) function was assessed using a train of pulsatile neck pressure (NP) and suction, and the aortic baroreflex control of HR was assessed during steady-state phenylephrine (PE) infusion superimposed by LBNP and NP to counteract the PE increased CVP and carotid sinus pressure, respectively. Results: Active physical deconditioning significantly decreased maximal oxygen uptake (-7%) and LBNP tolerance (- 13%) without a change in baseline hemodynamics. Plasma volume (-3% at P = 0.135), determined by Evans Blue dilution, and blood volume (-4% at P = 0.107) were not significantly altered. During LBNP -20 to -50 torr, there was a significantly greater drop of SV per unit decrease in CVP in the post- (14.7 ± 1.6%/mm Hg) than predeconditioning (11.2 ± 0.7%/mm Hg) test accompanied by a greater tachycardia. Deconditioning increased the aortic baroreflex sensitivity (pre vs post: -0.61 ± 0.12 vs -0.84 ± 0.14 bpm·mm- 1 Hg, P = 0.009) and the slope of forearm vascular resistance (calculated from [MAP-CVP]/FBF) to CVP (-2.75 ± 0.26 vs -4.94 ± 0.97 PRU/mm Hg, P = 0.086). However, neither the CBR-HR (-0.28 ± 0.03 vs -0.39 ± 0.10 bpm·mm- 1 Hg) nor the CBR-MAP (-0.37 ± 0.16 vs -0.25 ± 0.07 mm Hg/mm Hg) gains were statistically different between pre- and postdeconditioning. Conclusions: We concluded that the functional modification of the cardiac pressure-volume relationship resulted in the reduced LBNP tolerance, despite the accentuated aortic and cardiopulmonary baroreflex function following deconditioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1052
Number of pages12
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Baroreflex
  • Blood volume
  • Central venous pressure
  • Deconditioning
  • Forearm blood flow
  • Orthostatic tolerance
  • Stroke volume
  • Tachycardia


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