Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

Determinants of vascular and cardiac baroreflex sensitivity values in a random population sample

  • Anke J. Borgers
  • Bert-Jan H. van den Born
  • Anneke Alkemade
  • Daan W. Eeftinck Schattenkerk
  • Johannes J. van Lieshout
  • Karel H. Wesseling
  • Peter H. Bisschop
  • Berend E. Westerhof
Original Article


The arterial baroreflex regulates blood pressure by modifying heart rate and systemic vascular resistance. Baroreflex sensitivity is expressed as the relation between changes in blood pressure and the resulting changes in reciprocal values of heart rate (cardBRS) and in reciprocal values of vascular resistance (vascBRS). This study investigated determinants of vascBRS and cardBRS and their relationship in a random population sample. Continuous noninvasive arterial pressure was analyzed in 105 adults (43 males) with a median age of 45 (range 18–95) years and body mass index of 24.5 (range 18.1–39.1) kg m−2. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 130 (range 95–205) and 80 (range 47–141) mmHg, and heart rate was 66 (range 42–109) beats min−1. Pulse contour (CO-trek)-determined vascular resistance was 1.37 (range 0.60–7.75) mmHg s ml−1. The results of vascBRS and cardBRS were log-transformed; linear regression analysis revealed that age, resistance−1, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were major determinants of log(vascBRS) explaining 30.5 % of the variance. Determinants of log(cardBRS) were age, body mass index, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, explaining 70.4 % of the variance. Thus, some established determinants of cardBRS were not correlated with vascBRS. There was no correlation between log(cardBRS) and log(vascBRS) after correction for age, supporting that vascBRS is an independent description of baroreflex regulation. These findings suggest that vascBRS and cardBRS report different modalities of cardiovascular autonomic function.


Cardiac baroreflex Vascular baroreflex Autonomic function Nexfin Finapres method 



Body mass index (kg m−2)


Blood pressure (mmHg)


Baroreflex sensitivity


Diastolic blood pressure (mmHg)


Cardiac output rate (l min−1)


Sensitivity of the heart rate control baroreflex loop (ms mmHg−1): change in IBI per change in BP


Heart rate (beats min−1)


Interbeat interval (ms)


Mean arterial pressure (mmHg)


Medical units (mmHg, ml s−1)


Systolic blood pressure (mmHg)


Stroke volume (ml)


Systemic vascular conductance: 1,000 SVR−1 (mMU)


Systemic vascular resistance (mmHg s ml−1)


Sensitivity of the vascular conductance control baroreflex loop (mMU mmHg−1): change in SVC per change in BP



A.A. received a VENI-grant of the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Grant No. 916.86.020).

Conflict of interest

B.E.W. is employee of Edwards Lifesciences BMEYE. The remaining authors report no disclosures.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anke J. Borgers
    • 1
  • Bert-Jan H. van den Born
    • 2
  • Anneke Alkemade
    • 1
  • Daan W. Eeftinck Schattenkerk
    • 2
  • Johannes J. van Lieshout
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Karel H. Wesseling
    • 4
  • Peter H. Bisschop
    • 1
  • Berend E. Westerhof
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Acute Admissions Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical CentreUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Laboratory for Clinical Cardiovascular PhysiologyHeart Failure Research CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.School of Biomedical Sciences, Queen’s Medical CentreUniversity of Nottingham Medical SchoolNottinghamUK
  6. 6.Edwards Lifesciences BMEYEAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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