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Central cardiovascular hemodynamic response to unilateral handgrip exercise with blood flow restriction

Abstract

Aim

Exercise training with blood flow restriction (BFR) increases muscle size and strength. However, there is limited investigation into the effects of BFR on cardiovascular health, particularly central hemodynamic load.

Purpose

To determine the effects of BFR exercise on central hemodynamic load (heart rate—HR, central pressures, arterial wave reflection, and aortic stiffness).

Methods

Fifteen males (age = 25 ± 2 years; BMI = 27 ± 2 kg/m2, handgrip max voluntary contraction-MVC = 50 ± 2 kg) underwent 5-min bouts (counter-balanced, 10 min rest between) of rhythmic unilateral handgrip (1 s squeeze, 2 s relax) performed with a moderate-load (60% MVC) with and without BFR (i.e., 71 ± 5% arterial inflow flow reduction, assessed via Doppler ultrasound), and also with a low-load (40% MVC) with BFR. Outcomes included HR, central mean arterial pressure (cMAP), arterial wave reflection (augmentation index, AIx; wave reflection magnitude, RM%), aortic arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity, aPWV), and peripheral (vastus lateralis) microcirculatory response (tissue saturation index, TSI%).

Results

HR increased above baseline and time control for all handgrip bouts, but was similar between the moderate load with and without BFR conditions (moderate-load with BFR =  + 9 ± 2; moderate-load without BFR =  + 8 ± 2 bpm, p < 0.001). A similar finding was noted for central pressure (e.g., moderate load with BFR, cMAP =  + 14 ± 1 mmHg, p < 0.001). No change occurred for RM% or AIx (p > 0.05) for any testing stage. TSI% increased during the moderate-load conditions (p = 0.01), and aPWV increased above baseline following moderate-load handgrip with BFR only (p = 0.012).

Conclusions

Combined with BFR, moderate load handgrip training with BFR does not significantly augment central hemodynamic load during handgrip exercise in young healthy men.

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Abbreviations

Aix:

Augmentation Index

AP:

Augmentation pressure

aPWV:

Aortic pulse wave velocity

BFR:

Blood flow restriction exercise

BP:

Blood pressure

cMAP:

Central mean arterial pressure

H+ :

Hydrogen ions

HF:

High-frequency component

HR:

Heart rate

HRV:

Heart rate variability

L1:

Distance between sternal notch and carotid pulse site

L2:

Distance between sternal notch and proximal edge of thigh cuff

LF:

Low-frequency component

LF/HF:

Low-frequency-to-high-frequency component ratio

MHz:

Mega-hertz

MVC:

Maximal voluntary contraction

NIRS:

Near-infrared spectroscopy

Pb:

Backward pressure component

Pf:

Forward pressure component

PP:

Pulse pressure

RM%:

Reflection magnitude

RMSSD:

Root mean square of standard deviation of R–R intervals

RPP:

Rate pressure product

SDNN:

Standard deviation of R–R intervals

TSI%:

Tissue Saturation Index

V mean :

Mean blood velocity

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the participants for their time and dedication towards the study. The authors would also like to thank the students (graduate and undergraduate) from the School of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Southern Mississippi for their support and assistance throughout the various stages of this project.

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Authors

Contributions

DC, LS, and SM conceived, and designed research; DC, RJ, and SM conducted experiments; DC, RJ, DS, LS, and MJ analyzed data; DC and RJ drafted the manuscript. All authors read, edited, and approved the final manuscript for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel P. Credeur.

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There are no conflicts of interest to report for this study.

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Communicated by Philip D Chilibeck.

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Credeur, D.P., Jones, R., Stanford, D. et al. Central cardiovascular hemodynamic response to unilateral handgrip exercise with blood flow restriction. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 2255–2263 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-019-04209-3

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Keywords

  • Vascular stiffness
  • Kaatsu
  • Autonomic function
  • Blood flow
  • Pulse wave reflection