Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 316–320 | Cite as

The effect of pain on changes in heart rate during the Valsalva manoeuvre

  • Peter D. DrummondEmail author


The presence of pain may influence autonomic function in patients with painful neurological or cardiovascular disorders. The aim of the present study was to determine whether pain influences cardiac baroreflexes during the Valsalva manoeuvre. Eighteen healthy subjects immersed their hand twice at each temperature in 30 °C water and painfully hot (47 °C) and cold water (12 °C and 7 °C) for 2.5 minutes, followed by 5 minute rest periods. During 50% of the immersions, subjects performed the Valsalva manoeuvre (40 mmHg for 30 seconds) starting one minute after their hand entered the water. Pain ratings and heart rate were greater during the 7 °C and 47 °C immersions than during the 12 °C and 30 °C immersions. Pain-induced increases in heart rate did not influence peak tachycardia during phase II or III of the Valsalva manoeuvre or peak bradycardia during phase IV, but opposed bradycardia during the post-strain recovery period. Further studies are needed to establish whether pain influences indices of autonomic function during clinical assessment.

Key words

Valsalva manoeuvre baroreflex pain heart rate 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyMurdoch UniversityWestern Australia

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