Acute and long term interventions to assess the adaptability of the cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress

Berry, N 2006, Acute and long term interventions to assess the adaptability of the cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Medical Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Acute and long term interventions to assess the adaptability of the cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress
Author(s) Berry, N
Year 2006
Abstract This thesis comprises of four experiments from which related but independent analyses were undertaken. The interventions employed were designed to investigate the effect of cardiovascular adaptation, both in the short and long term on the cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress.

The first study, described in Chapter 3, tested the hypothesis that the cardiovascular system (CVS) could adapt to repeated orthostatic challenges in a single session. 14 subjects were exposed to ten +75° head-up tilts (HUT) over 70 mins. Each tilt involved a 5 min supine period (SUPINE) followed by 2 min HUT (TILT). Various indices of cardiovascular function were determined non-invasively. Cardiovascular responses to HUT10 for the final 30s of SUPINE and the first 30s of TILT were compared with those of HUT1. Integrated cardiac baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) was assessed using the Valsalva Manoeuvre (VM). Results showed MAP and DBP increased in both SUPINE (MAP p=0.009, DBP p=0.002) and TILT (MAP p=0.003, DBP p=0.009) for HUT10 compared with HUT1. TPR increased during TILT only (p=0.001) during HUT10 compared with HUT1. CO and SV were decreased during SUPINE at HUT10 relative to HUT1, however, there were no differences in TILT at HUT10 for either CO or SV. There was no change in the response of BRS, HR or SBP from HUT1 to HUT10. This study indicated that 10 repetitive HUTs can elicit changes in the cardiovascular responses to orthostasis, reflected by an increased TPR.

The second study, described in Chapter 4, investigated the effect of the repeated HUT protocol outlined above on the cardiovascular responses to the squat-stand test (SST). 16 subjects were randomly allocated into either a tilting group that underwent ten +75° HUTs in 70 min (TILTING) or a control group that underwent 70 min of rest (CONTROL). Before and after the 70 min of either HUT or rest, subjects performed a SST (SST1 and SST2 respectively). The same cardiovascular parameters as those used in Chapter 3 were determined during both SSTs. The final 30s of SQUAT and the first 30s of STAND (divided into three 10-sec blocks termed STAND10, STAND20 and STAND30) were compared between SST1 and SST2, results were as follows. TILTING: during the SQUAT phase of SST2, SBP, MAP, DBP and TPR were significantly elevated (p less than 0.05) and HR was significantly decreased (p=0.032) compared with SST1; at STAND10, DBP and MAP were significantly increased (p less than 0.05); at STAND20, SBP was increased (p=0.03); and, at STAND30, DBP, SBP and MAP (p less than 0.05) were increased. There were no differences observed between SST1 and SST2 in the CONTROL group. Results indicated that ten consecutive +75° HUTs can improve the CVS responses to the SST. This is predominantly due to an increase in DBP, indicative of a change in vascular resistance.

The third study, outlined in Chapter 5, investigated the effect of lower limb unilateral and bilateral resistance exercise on the blood pressure (BP) and HR responses in young males. 12 normotensive, sedentary young males were divided into 2 groups; one group exercised unilaterally and the other bilaterally. Thirty seconds of resting data were collected before subjects performed 4 SETs of 10-12 reps on a seated leg press. SET 1 was performed at 50% of 10-12RM, SET 2 was performed at 75% and SET 3 and SET 4 were performed at 10- 12RM. Bilateral resistance exercise elicited greater increases in SBP than unilateral exercise at SETs 2, 3 and 4 (p less than 0.05). DBP was only greater with bilateral exercise relative to unilateral exercise at SET 2 (p=0.036). There were no differences between the groups for the HR response. This study demonstrated that the BP response to bilateral lower limb resistance exercise was significantly greater than that of unilateral exercise in young sedentary males. This information could be beneficial to many populations for whom lower BP responses to exercise would be an advantage.

Following on from this, to investigate long term improvements in cardiovascular responses to orthostasis the study outlined in Chapter 6, investigated the effect of acute (10 weeks) and chronic (more than 4 years) resistance training (RT) on the cardiovascular responses to both HUT and SST. 22 young males were allocated into three groups. The UNILATERAL (N=7) and the BILATERAL (N=7) groups performed baseline testing followed by 10 weeks of lower limb RT (performed unilaterally or bilaterally), followed by repeats of the tests performed at baseline. The CONTROL group (N=8) followed the same protocol except they were asked to perform no resistance training during the 10 weeks between testing sessions. An additional 7 subjects were allocated to a CHRONIC group consisting of individuals who had been training for more than 4 years. These subjects only performed the baseline testing. Baseline testing consisted of a number of cardiovascular tests, ultrasound for vein diameter, BRS via VM, and tests for calf ejection fraction and venous elasticity. Results demonstrated that neither unilateral nor bilateral RT caused an alteration in the cardiovascular response to the HUT or SST. There were no changes in any cardiovascular variable in response to acute RT relative to the control group. The CHRONIC group had a decreased cardiovascular response to both orthostatic challenges, with a decrease in SV in response to HUT being greater in the chronic group relative to the other groups (p less than 0.05) and the TPR response to SST being significantly less than the control group (p less than 0.05). The CHRONIC group also had a smaller elastic modulus for the right leg in comparison to the other groups (p less than 0.05). Results indicate that heavy resistance exercise may cause a decreased cardiovascular response to orthostatic stress and that these decreases may be controlled by a decreased venous elasticity.

Collectively, these results demonstrate that the CVS is highly adaptable to repeated orthostatic stress and the dominant underlying feature of this protective adaptation is increased vascular resistance. Following the repeated HUT the CVS is in a more protected state and has become better able to defend itself against the adverse consequences of rapidly applied hydrostatic force. However lower limb RT performed bilaterally (with large increases in BP) or unilaterally (with lower increases in BP) does not improve CVS response to orthostatic stress, in fact chronic RT (more than 4 yrs) appears to impair the CVS response to orthostasis, potentially due to decreased venous elasticity.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Medical Sciences
Keyword(s) Cardiovascular system -- Physiology
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